September 30:Kounacogou is a very remote and spread out village. Sometimes there is half a mile between dwellings. Most Baobab trees are located in close proximity to the dwellings, as they represent ancestors and their habitations. In between there are expanses of bush and scattered crop fields. Sorghum, corn, peanuts, voandzou (a ground legume) and hot peppers are interspersed with black eyed peas, soybeans, okra, leafy greens, tomatoes and the like. This is a uniquely indigenous polyculture food production system.
We must have walked 10 miles in the blazing sun, wading streams and climbing steep banks. I’m not sure that the inspectors liked this very much. I love being out there and visiting the producers. Typically, on such days, I’ll go home with a chicken, guinea hen, some eggs or other kind presents, but I think the inspectors’ gruff manner precludes such niceties.
Today, we went to the village of Dikon-Hein near, Manta. Although the road is not too bad, most of the inspection sites were way out in the bushes. More rivers and snake-infested grasslands. We saw a chameleon near one of the streams!
Holy Baobab! Not only are there alot of trees, but they are really loaded with fruit this year. Last year, our relay agent did not work well here, and we got little supply. We have found a new guy for the job, and are very hopeful for a big yield.
We started with the remaining 4 producers from Kounacogou that we ran out of time for on Monday. The first lived right at the foot of the mountains in a most spectacular spot. He is a really dynamic guy, and a great example of an aware organic producer. The next producer has 14 productive trees! On our way out of Kounacogou, we had to 4-wheel it through some deep mud, and almost sank the truck in a rice paddy. Close call!