The High Price of Chocolate

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In week 3, we discussed how chocolate gets from the cacao farms on the Ivory Coast, to the neatly packaged commodity that we all know and love. As images of children, taken from their families as slave laborers, were shown performing the difficult tasks of harvesting cacao beans, my heart sank. As we learned that farmers, who are underpaid, had no knowledge of why anyone would want to harvest this bitter bean, or what it was used for, I felt ashamed. To see the painstaking process that poor farmers undergo day in and day out, so that I can walk into any grocery store and purchase a piece of chocolate for relatively cheap, and enjoy without any thought of their toil became overwhelming.

Then, came the contemplative practice. We were asked to think about what chocolate means to us. We were directed to contemplate the process of the bean from farm to currently being held in our hands. As I did this, all I could think of was that children were taken from their homes and labored heavily so that I could partake in this exercise. I could not erase the images from my mind, and when it came time to eat, I felt that in partaking of the chocolate, which held no meaning for me, that I was somehow betraying the children and farmers and all of the work they had done, with no real benefit to themselves. It made me think of how I need to be more aware of where my food comes from, and the people                                                                                         who are affected, and do my best to eat with                                                                                           greater conscience.



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