Every year DLG Naturals BW undergoes a certification audit to confirm our organic practices and certify new sites. This year, we traveled into the bush with Trudie, an Ecocert auditor from South Africa. While on this excursion, we travelled to many rural villages within our harvesting network. This story begins just outside of Nata, a small village 8 hours away from our factory.
The rains in Botswana had been particularly heavy earlier this year. So as we approached Nata, we were not surprised to see fields that had enough water to be mistaken for a lake! Everywhere was verdant with wildlife living in luxury; a far cry from the typical Botswana desert. The birds were filling the sky as egrets and flamingos basked in this flooded land. While we didn’t witness them, the waters were certainly housing crocodiles thriving in this much needed water. Nata certainly held some unexpected flooding, but it was not our final destination and the journey continued.
Zoroga and Gweta, our two other northern-most villages within the DLG harvest network, came next. As we continued on the road, we drove into what should be a new Olympic event: ‘The Pothole Marathon!’ Botswana roads were not made for the excessive rainfall that graced us this year. Huge potholes scattered the road and were large enough to consume a vehicle–or at least cause considerable damage. Entire sections of road had washed out and simply disappeared. Under the capable hands of our driver, though, we ventured off-road to avoid ditches brimming with water and miniature rivers wandering into the distance.
Our travels were tense, but eventually we made it to both villages unscathed! COVID-19 has taken its toll in every part of the world, and rural villages in Botswana are no different. Trudie questioned the harvesters who could attend. She was pleased with their training in organic collection, and we soon ventured into fields flush with freshly fallen marula. After taking an in-person look at the heart of our operation, Trudie informed her office that DLG Naturals BW is chemical free and approved for certification!
Through the water-logged fields, expansive potholes, and country-wide travel we came and went. And after it all, we breathed easy with renewed certification and spirit alike. We are immensely proud of our harvesters and all of their work toward this goal. Without them–and you!–none of this was possible. As DLG moves ahead, more collection sites will be organically certified, and more journeys will bring new harvesters. And with luck, a few fewer potholes!