Hello and good day!
Did you ever notice that you get to see your hometown through fresh eyes when somebody comes to visit you? In the course of daily life, we mostly visit the same places again and again. We see a lot of the same people. We drive the same roads. It all becomes very common place.
But with a visitor, everything is fresh. You get to point out the new bridge that was built a couple years back. You get to show off our local chocolate shop. You hit all the tourist spots that have long since lost their appeal for you.
It's a rejuvenation.
Take a look at the photo. The fellow walking that jungle road walks it every day of his life. Off to the sides are cacao, coffee, and rice farms. Once in a while he'll see a farmer herding cattle.A motorcycle might zoom by every 20 or 30 minutes. When school is out, kids in uniforms will come walking along.
If our cacao buying team is in that neck of the woods for the day, he'll see and hear a big fleet of pickup trucks rumbling through. When the rains are heavy, his feet will stick in goop and every step will be a slog.
Nothing special. Just the life of a farmer in the northern Peruvian jungle.
But when we bring visitors out to campo to see the jungle, that man's face will light up. He'll wave and say hi and point out particularly lovely aspects of the landscape. Pedestrian becomes magical when you share it.
After many years in a relationship, you might find yourself in a dust up with your significant other. It's usually over silly little things.
Who forgot to unload the dishwasher. Who failed to take the trash to the curb. Who forgot to pick up something from the store on the way home from work. How come you never buy flowers anymore? You used to give me a kiss every night before bed, what happened?
These are the tensions of familiarity. You could have some annoyance roiling inside of you, not giving you a moment of peace. And then you get together with friends and the topic of how you met your beloved comes up. You remember how it was that first time your eyes locked in, and a jolt of electricity ran through you.
You tell about the first time you held hands. You recall how on your wedding day you were standing up at the altar, waiting. The music came on through a loudspeaker and your bride came down the aisle in all white. She looked so young and beautiful, and you were young and handsome, swimming in an oversized tuxedo.
The vibration of the music drove inside of you, and you lost your breath. You felt small in a big moment, and you knew that your life would never be the same after that. It dawned on you that you weren't one anymore. You were half of this new thing that was being brought into existence.
You fought back tears reading your vows. You told her that she was your dream come true. You told her, in front of everybody, that you never believed that a dream like her could be real, but she was there, and because of her, you realized it was worth it to dream.
Sometimes you get what you want most. Sometimes you win big. When you're arguing about washing dishes, or sweeping up, or what to spend money on, you forget. But when you tell your friends the love story, you get to live it one more time You make it real again. The squabbles melt away.
There's nothing like holding your first-born child in your arms that first time. You've waited nine months. You've read all the books. You've developed what you believe to be an iron clad philosophy on parenting. You cradle the baby and rock it.
He's sleeping and even if he was awake, he wouldn't understand what you're saying. You promise him with all the sincerity that you can drum up that you'll do your best to raise him right. You promise to love him unconditionally. You promise to cherish the time you spend together. You walk and bounce and coo and make promise after promise.
The little one grows up. He gets bigger and bigger until he is bigger than his mother. He has a strong will and doesn't want to do what you want him to do. You get on his case. You argue and scold and beg and bribe.
In a moment of peace, you dust off the photo album and show him his baby pictures. You tell him the story of his birth and recount all the promises you made. Even though he is big and doesn't readily give up hugs anymore, you put your arm around him, and he leans his heavy head with its thick mess of hair against your shoulder.You squeeze him in and tell him that you love him. Sharing brings people back together.
We've been in the chocolate business for fifteen years. Most of chocolate production is hard, repetitive, and frankly boring work. No matter how you try to cast it, filling out customs paperwork and lining up cargo trucks and boats is not a fun job. Nor is sticking your head into a box of acidic fermenting cacao.
Day after day, year after year, we do the same work.
Being able to share our stories and the fruits of our labor with you is a big part of what keeps us going. Sharing is a key to longevity. For a long time, we were able to take our wholesale chocolate customers out to campo to visit cacao farms every year. That always gave us a boost of enthusiasm.
When COVID hit and most of our wholesale accounts were shut down, we couldn't do that anymore. This is when our wonderful online customers became a tremendous shot in the arm for us. Sharing with you means the world. And now we get to share with our retail customers too. We hope that someday soon, we'll be able to take our retail and online customers out to campo for visits.
The cacao growers' association of the district of Huarango is continuing apace with the construction of a new agrotourism facility. That will allow us to share even more which will keep us going for a long, long time to come.
Thank you so much for your time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!
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