Invisible Hands

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The contemplative practice that I found to be the most interesting was the lesson on the production of chocolate.  Chocolate is one of the most well known commodities in our culture.  It’s heavily sought after by consumers during significant holidays, it’s the perfect gift for a loved one, and we add it to various foods such as cakes and ice cream.  Chocolate not only has a constant presence in our supermarkets, but also in our everyday lives.  However, when we look beyond the captivating candy wrappers, we see the seemingly invisible hands that helped create this popular treat.  While most children around the world enjoy the occasional chocolate snack, children in the Ivory Coast spend their childhood picking cocoa pods off of trees in large plantations.  The joy and happiness that comes with chocolate isn’t experienced by these children, in fact, most of the children in the Ivory Coast haven’t experienced the sweet taste of the cocoa after it’s been manufactured.  This story is too common for laborers in the Ivory Coast, as many work in dangerous conditions, are separated from their families and work for very low wages.

Most people around the world don’t take into consideration the process that each piece of chocolate goes through on its way to our local stores and our homes.  While holding a piece of chocolate in my hands, it’s difficult to imagine the other less fortunate hands that have helped in the production and manufacturing of this one product.  Before this lesson, I saw chocolate as a harmless treat, synonymous with feelings of enjoyment and reward.  However, after identifying with the economic disparities that set us apart from those that help produce chocolate, I can’t help but see the implications that are involved.  It’s important to consider the process of where our food comes from and to examine the food system as a whole, rather than just the outcome.



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