By Queen D. Michele
Mariana Kyle Rivera
There’s a saying that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. So true is the case of North Shore locals Mariana Kyle Rivera and her mother Fabiola Rivera Gonzalez. Their story of determination and courage began once mom was diagnosed with a debilitating degenerative disease, in Spanish called Spondylitis Anquilosante. Her prognosis was not good, and the medication she was taking had horrible side effects.
Fabiola, determined not to let the disease get the best of her, began studying and looking to replace her medications through more holistic and natural ways. During her research, she discovered a little village in Argentina where honey farmers were extracting from bees healing properties that they make naturally. These properties are extracted from the Melipona bee, native to warm areas of the neotropics ranging from Sinaloa and Tamaulipas (Mexico) to Tucuman and Misiones (Argentina).
Fabiola set out to learn all that she could about the healing properties and began her own regimen of ingestion. Coincidently, Fabiola’s husband once worked on a Melipona bee farm with his family before moving to Guadalajara. His knowledge was instrumental in helping Fabiola with her regimen. Over time, Fabiola’s symptoms became lighter and lighter which allowed for a better quality of life. Mariana, bearing firsthand witness to her mom’s research and subsequent ease in her symptoms, came to understand the scarceness of bees. She felt their natural healing properties had literally saved her mother’s life.
There came a time when Mariana, armed with her mother’s courageous spirit, would help sustain an entire bee farming community. The Kito Community is made up of descendants of an ancient Maya tribe. Many descendants are still tending honey farms in that Yucatan region. This is the region where Mariana’s father’s family is from, and where he once worked before moving his family to Jalisco. One day, Mariana’s father told her about the plight his family and friends were facing back in the Yucatan region. They were closing the bee farms! This would cause a terrible economic blow to many families. Mariana, determined to preserve the Maya Kito Tribe traditions and maintain a thriving bee community, began looking for ways of sustainability. There were two main components that assisted Mariana in saving the bee farms from going under; it was her father’s knowledge about bee farms and her husband’s financial backing. Loaded with knowledge and money, Mariana pulled the trigger. As a result, the families in the Kito Community were equipped with whatever was needed to continue bee farming. Today, Mariana is now a beekeeper… there’s that apple falling.
Mariana named the honey Abeja Reina (Queen Bee) ~Tesoro Maya (Treasure Maya). A beautiful balance for the Maya civilization that has been extracting honey and the healing properties of bees for centuries. It continues to be a part of their ancestral gift to this planet. Mariana always says, “Queen is the bee! They are the small engine of our ecosystem, because without them we would not have oxygen, plants, food, or life!”
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