Have we talked about how much I love chocolate? I’ve been addicted as long as I can remember. And bread… well, that’s just a gateway drug for me. I am learning that if I can stay away from bread and crackers I have a much better chance of staying on my food plan. So you can easily surmise what happens when chocolate and bread come together. I am helpless when offered a chocolate muffin.
That was until I learned that most of our chocolate today comes from West Africa, specifically the Ivory Coast, and is harvested and processed using slave labor—usually in the form of young boys. I finally found something to cure my addiction to chocolate.
How did I live over forty years not even wondering where my beloved chocolate came from? I feel guilty for satisfying my sweet tooth without considering the lives that have been ruined because of it. I take a little solace in the the words of Maya Angelou:
“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”
In an effort to do better, I use social media to shed light on the plight of those still enslaved and to further the cause of abolition. There is no excuse for any human to own another. And, I feel certain, there must be a tenth circle of hell for those who enslave children.
Additionally, I do better by purchasing chocolate (and coffee and sugar) from Fair Trade companies, or from areas that do not use slave labor—like Rainforest Alliance Certified Cocoa. It becomes a bit trickier when chocolate is a minor ingredient in a prepared item, so I choose not to indulge in those items. I also boycott many of the candy companies that I know use cocoa and chocolate grown and harvested by slave labor.
Quality chocolate companies that guarantee quality of life for their employees also create better tasting products which are also more expensive. My frugal nature helps keep the craving for these fabulous treats in check. I no longer enjoy chocolate muffins from the corner donut shop as I once did. Now that I know better, most chocolate delicacies make me sad. This seems to be yet another instance of what God created for good, Satan uses for evil. Food that is produced using slave-labor, GMO’s, and pesticides cause illness and pain for all. It’s another reason why I choose a vegan, whole-plant, lifestyle, and attempt to purchase organic food as much as possible.
Heavenly Father, I pray you will protect the estimated 27+ million people enslaved today. Please give them freedom, health, safety, and provision. Please convict all engaged in human-trafficking to see the evil that they do, and like John Newton, come to know You, Your Word, and Your will. Please, LORD, let your children everywhere learn what is going on and how we ignorantly contribute to this horrendous crime against our fellow humans. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. In Jesus’ name, I beg this, Amen.
In my personal journal, I often use writing prompts from various writing and photography challenges. In June 2016, the Writers Write challenge included “Chocolate Muffin” as a prompt. It intrigues me how my mind can take one idea when I’m writing and develop it into what really matters. I hope this post challenges you to learn more about modern slavery, and to take time to learn where your favorite treats come from.
Here’s some links to help you start learning more…
- End Slavery Now, “Bitter Chocolate”
- The CNN Freedom Project
- Polaris Project
- End It Movement
- Food is Power