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 :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!
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.