Hello and good day!
Take a look at the photo.
This is a typical cacao farm living room.
We took this photo a while back and we are proud to say that the floor in this particular living room is now paved with concrete. The higher prices we pay for cacao made that improvement possible.
When you trace it all the way back, it is actually the wonderful customers who buy chocolate from us who power the economic engine that leads to these upgrades.When folks started to move out and live in this canyon where we buy cacao, it was essentially virgin jungle.
There were native roaming tribes who left artifacts. But there was no organized agriculture whatsoever. Nor was there any modern infrastructure.
Take a look at the adobe bricks this house is built from. They are made out of mud dug up from the farm. The original settlers made their own bricks. In this house, there is another bench off to the left up against a wall.
Upon entering, you'd sit on these benches and be offered a refreshment, fresh fruit juice, coffee, or tea.Given the extreme heat out in the jungle, you'd likely take juice, but a case can be made for tea and coffee as well, depending on the circumstances. Somebody usually goes out to the farm and cuts down fruit to offer as a snack.
On this particular farm, the zapote is phenomenal. Zapote has orange flesh and is like a mixture of cantaloupe and sweet potato. As you sit there eating your fruit, animals come walking in and out.
\In this house, the hostess had a long running grudge against a big old bull turkey. Kittens and dogs and ducks and hens would be allowed to enter and eat corn feed that was left on the floor.
But if the turkey walked in, a long staring contest broke out. Then the hostess would begin with the threats. If the turkey backed down, that would be the end of it. However if the turkey decided to stand it's ground, the hostess got up out of her chair and physically removed the turkey, sometimes with patience, and sometimes with extreme prejudice.
It is funny to see a sweet person get angry for a second, and then quickly shift gears back to being sweet again.
Right outside the house, on all sides, is thick jungle farm land. From the window of this house, you could see a typical set up for grinding sugar cane.
It was a mill in the ground that you fed sugar cane stalks into. A horse or donkey walking in circles powered the mill. A simple drainage system built into the ground carried the sugar cane juice from the mill into a big metal pot. From there the sugar cane liquid could be used in many ways.
When we first started doing business out in campo, there were no phones in the houses. I'm not only talking about cell phones. There were no land lines in houses either.To make a call, farmers had to travel to a central village that had 5 phone lines running into it.
\Making a phone call took at least half a day. You had to go into town and make your call. If the person didn't answer or if they needed to call you back, you had to wait in the phone shop either for the call back or to try again. Once your call was complete, it was back out to the farm.
Now everybody has a cell phone and streaming internet on their farms. We can call a cacao farmer on Whatsapp and have a video call. That piece of technology has truly been a blessing and has led to an undeniable increase in the standard of living.
Concrete floors have been a good thing too.
The general thrust of human economies when left free are towards a constant improvement in the material standard of living. When you take a step back and think about it, these cacao farming communities are probably more advanced than our American pioneer communities were over the same period of time.
American pioneers homesteaded hundreds of years ago. These cacao farm families homesteaded in the 1960s. Improvements and knowledge compound.
As long as work ethic remains in tact, things tend to get better and better over time. The hard thing is being in the first wave of something new. Once a ton of groundwork is already laid, life gets much easier.
And that is a trap.
Because things are relatively easier, people stop working as hard and the rate of improvement slows down. But even so, things are still better and more comfortable than they used to be.
Anyhow, thank you so much for your continued support. We continue to work as hard as ever to make more and more improvements to the world.
And it is all possible because of our wonderful customers and friends.
Thank you so much for your time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!
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