The Contemplation of Chocolate

Before taking this class I had never heard of a contemplative practice. I didn’t know what it was or what to expect. When we did the first practice I did not find it to be helpful in enhancing my relationship to the course material, but when we did the chocolate contemplative practice it completely changed my point of view. In this practice we had to eat a raw cocoa bean and at first the only thing that I could focus on was the bitter taste that was left in my mouth. As we began to watch the videos on the Ivory Coast, one revolving child labor on cocoa farms and the other on farmers trying chocolate for the first time, my thoughts completely shifted in another direction.

Chocolate is a huge commodity in our society today; most of the population including myself consumes chocolate on a daily basis. Before this class I did not have much information on the agricultural and trading process of chocolate but after these videos I was just left without words. Children from a very young age are taken away from their families and homes to work on the cocoa farms. Children should be attending schools but these children work long hours in terrible conditions to get the cocoa beans and are still paid a very small amount of money that is not enough to live. The part that I really connected with and found to be surprising through this practice was the video of farmers trying chocolate for the first time. I was just astonished to see that these farmers make their living through these cocoa beans yet they don’t get the chance to try the product that is created due to financial reasons and access. You would think that out of everyone they would get “first dibs” but they don’t get it at all.

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