Newsletter 3, December 2016


Best view in pdf: newsletter-3-december-2016


Bee the Solution – Newsletter 3, December 2016
By Chrystel Vert-Pré

The end of the year is the time that we spend with our loved ones – we hope that you have this chance and we wish you a festive season with friends and family.

And being the last newsletter of the year, we wish you all the best for 2017 – may it bring all you need to you and you loved ones.


(Marcus and Paulina, Bushmanland, Namibia)

What happened this month

Doing the projects is not just about the projects. It does have a lot of different ramifications and this is about those side-activities, behind the scene, along with issues and challenges that we encounter in doing projects.
As one person on the ground, and doing 99% of the running around, writing updates, travelling, meeting with people, activities for the projects themselves, this does take quite a chunk of the time in the month. Projects involve thinking the steps, writing for and about them, meeting people, making connections, discussing, keeping ears opened on the ground.
The newsletter is about all of these activities, what does have an impact on setting-up and/or running projects and also bring general information on project conduct.

Why do we do what we do… and why do we do it this way?

In recent weeks, I have been more and more convinced that there is a need to help at local/community level. Since “officially” launching Bee the Solution in September 2016 (only a few months ago), the word has been going around in some places where I go. And a lot of people have projects that they wanted help with, if only to phrase them or review their documents at first.

This is the essence of Bee the Solution: we do not necessarily need to arrive with a project that we think would improve the community from a nice office in Europe – people on the ground know their needs, but they have also thought about solutions. Often, they just don’t know how to start them off… Other times, they need some discussions to show them that they actually know what they can do, they have just not thought about it.

In other cases, I have also seen how things work while on the ground and how everything stops until the next visit. On the ground presence makes a difference to keep things moving.

Remains the issue of financing those projects – including financing Bee the Solution to be on the ground.
However, some work can be done by the local community without huge finance… or even for free when we think out of the box and get support from other community members. But again, we do need funds to get to the community and advise them…

Stay tuned – We will address those topics in future newsletters throughout 2017!


Administrative challenges

The main reason for coming back to France is administrative… indeed, after nearly 4 years of travelling in Africa, my passport was full and I had to renew it.

I have now a new passport for the next 10 years. But this time, I have an “intensive traveller” passport which contains more pages: from 32 pages to 48 pages (which translates into 42 pages for stamps and Visas instead of 26…)




Planning challenges

Planning is not easy sometimes. There are many reasons, and the administrative challenges of the passport is one of them. Just to name two that affected planning for 2016:

I had initially planned to go back to Tanzania for the cooker project, but I could not due to the need for 2 more pages in my passport. Likewise, I could not apply for a longer stay visa in Namibia until I had a new passport (passport number…) and thus will only be able to do so next year… possibly only for 2018 and not 2017 as originally planned!

We continuously have to adapt to circumstances and adjust plans…last-page-passports


Since the last newsletter, I have travelled nearly 20’000 km… don’t worry, not all by road… as I came back to Europe, this included the flights from Johannesburg! Maya and I were on the road in Africa for only 1’500 km.
These travels were because of the administrative challenge above: with no more pages in my passport, I could not stay any longer (at least not much longer) and had to adapt plans to travel back to France this year.

Leaving Zimbabwe had less challenges than anticipated, which was a nice surprise. Zimbabwe roads can take time to travel due to numerous road blocks, which were anticipated to be even higher this year. But, the only hurdle we encountered was that the place were we used to stop on the way had safety concerns in the current climate and we couldn’t park there safely. So we had to continue to Botswana, crossing border fairly late at night and driving the last 100 km of the day very slowly under a massive thunderstorm, in the dark. The driving conditions that we want to avoid as much as possible. But all went well and the following day we reached South Africa without any issues.
Travelling between Kariba and Johannesburg is about 1’500 Km of fairly good tar roads, crossing two borders. It can be done in 2 days, stretching into the evenings: 15h on the first day and 11h the next day. We generally prefer to make it in 3 days, as the long drives can be dangerous.

Maya was securely stored in South Africa, staying with friends for 2 months.

The rest of the mileage was between France, UK and Switzerland in a 2 weeks road-trip to visit friends and family – as always with this type of trip, it was too short and I did not manage to see everyone, but it was nice to catch-up with some, even if I have not seen everyone I wanted to see… Next time we meet, it might be in Africa… Who knows…


Please do not hesitate to contact us @

Feel free to send us feedback. We are open to suggestions and comments. As we are young and learning, we value your opinion even more than usual and are very grateful for it.

Let us know about what you want to see in the Newsletter, which projects you are interested in, any ideas you have for a project.

Have a safe year 2017 ahead

Chrystel, (Maya), Odile, Hélène and Jean-Louis




2 responses to “Newsletter 3, December 2016

  1. Pingback: But what are the costs of being in the field? – Newsletter·

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