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On the Road to Depa...

Ben and Chef Tom are making their way from Abidjan to Depa (near Issia, Cote d'Ivoire) where most of the work of Project Hope and Fairness has been taking place. Along the way they passed through Yamoussoukro, location of the Presidential Palace and the Basilica Notre Dame de la Paix. They encountered this lively group of children during a stop for supplies. They were quite enamored with their American visitors!

The majority of their trip will be spent in and near Depa, meeting with authorities regarding direct export of crops grown in this area to the U.S. and the E.U. Project Hope & Fairness has constructed the Depa Chocolate Factory (along with a rice hulling facility), which produces disks and bars. If cocoa farmers make their own chocolate and sell it locally, they stand to make more than 50% of the retail price, whereas selling cocoa to middlemen, including Fair Trade cooperatives, only earns them 14% of the retail price (assuming a 70% chocolate bar). The long-term goal is to construct chocolate factories in 7 Villages, enabling farmers to sell their bars directly to the consumer through retail stores.

A few of the new friends Ben met along the way today weren't quite as friendly as the children! The journey continues tomorrow...

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