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September 21:  

We spent much of the day shuffling files and the papers therin in preparation for the arrival of the organic inspectors, to be right on point.  Mind you, Abel is a management specialist and really has a good idea how it should look, and the young folks on the team are neither very educated, nor understand such things very well after five trainings.  Yes, Abel and I were frustrated, we really need some more qualified staff.  

Early in the afternoon, a lady came into the office with a GORGEOUS male puppy for sale.  Not your typical African dingo-mutt with pointy, erect ears and a short coat, this little guy has sort of floppy ears and a soft, fuzzy coat. He almost looks like he is part golden retriever. Abel spoke up right away, and bought the critter for 10 bucks.

September 22 :    

market resized 600
Having arrived for the first time 21 years ago, I am pretty well known in Boukombé and definitely having left my traces.  Every Mama, Papa, brother, sister and the rest heard I arrived and came to the office for a proper greeting.  It was market day, so folks from all over stopped by to say hi.  I’m so flattered, and what a pleasure!

Many had great words of encouragement for the success of this crazy enterprise we call Atacora.  That definitely balances out those days of utter discouragement.  

I left Boukombé at about 2PM with Chauffer (bad driver) M’po to receive Ecocert Inspectors Barro and Karim, who were to arrive on the bus from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.  What a beautiful drive through the Atacora region!  Everything is as green as green can be, it being the height of the rainy season. VERDANT!  

September 23:  

We started this morning with the review of documentation. Sure, everything is well documented, but the paper filing system and the computer filing system leave quite a bit to be desired, due to the lack of experience of the field team. However, we got through it.

We then proceeded to a nearby village, Kountchougou, to physically inspect a random selection of baobab producers. Sure enough, the first baobab producer selected, just like last year, made the team wade through a seasonal river to get there.  At least, this year, it was only knee deep. We walked a mile there, and a mile back from the closest place we could park the truck. Everythings looked great. We inspected a few more parcels, then went back to Boukombé.


baobab inspection

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