Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Slave for Chocolate

There is a song on Christian radio by Matthew West called "My Own Little World".  This is how it starts...

In my own little world it hardly ever rains
I've never gone hungry, always felt safe
I got some money in my pocket shoes on my feet
In my own little world
Population me

and this is how it ends...

What if there's a bigger picture
what if I'm missing out
What if there's a greater purpose
I could be living right now
outside my own little world
Start to break my heart for what breaks Yours
give me open hands and open doors
put Your light in my eyes and let me see
that my own little world is not about me

Did you notice the line..."start to break my heart for what breaks Yours..."?  Remember that line...

I LOOOOOOOVE chocolate.  (Especially milk chocolate, even though I know the dark is better for me!)

You can ask anyone - I can eat my weight in chocolate...but then I'd weigh twice as much so I don't actually do that.  And Valentine's day is right around the corner so all the stores' shelves are full of chocolate.

I recently read a blog post here that broke my heart and then did some research on my own.  Every website I visited left me more and more broken.

Did you know that most of the world's chocolate is grown along the Ivory Coast in Africa?  Did you know that many of those cocoa plantations use slave labor?  And, worse than that... what can be worse, you ask?  
Child slave labor.    

The CNN Freedom Project just completed a series called "Chocolate's Child Slaves."  It was eye-opening and heart breaking.  Did you know that the world's biggest chocolate producers have known about this issue for over a decade?  They signed Harkin Engel protocol that promised to end the practice...but they haven't done anything to actually end it.  This latest spotlight on the issue did prompt Hershey to pledge $10 million to improve West African cocoa farming and fight child labor, but what about everyone else?  And what can we do?  I do know that I will never look at a box of Milk Duds the same.

The above picture is of a "Divine" candy bar.  It is certified "Fair Trade."  This is one way I can make sure my family is taking a stand.  It is harder to find and is about 2x as expensive.  The above bar cost me $1.50 at an all natural food store.  But in my eyes, it is worth it.

The Freedom Project told a story of a 10 year old boy who had been working in the cocoa fields for 3 years.  He doesn't know where his parents are, he doesn't have a warm bed to sleep in, he doesn't have a change of clothes and he has never even tasted chocolate.  I see my 7-year-old's face on that little boy.  I can't go back to the way it was...I can't unlearn this information.

So, before you go shopping for Valentine's Day, think about that chocolate.  Will you unlearn what you know now, or will you make a change for good?

Love you all,



  1. I knew there was a reason I wasn't a huge chocolate fan.... Thanks so much for sharing. Love you!

  2. wow! that is very heart breaking! ill definitely be looking for those divine chocolate bars!

    1. Ariel... There are several brands you can choose from, just look for the "Certified Fair Trade" logo and you can be sure you aren't supporting any company that benefits from slave labor.