We do a quick sing-along wake-up call with the children. They enjoy our silly speed-it-up ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ and then one of the New Koforidua students comes to the front to give us his own rendition - similar but with a less silly twist : ‘My head, my shoulders, my knees, my toes, they all belong to Jesus’.
We split up into 3 groups - some experiencing the delights of the ‘Dream Booth’, some delving deep into their own views and experiences during a Child Rights workshop and the rest finding out about Fairtrade and their connection with the global chocolate industry in Divine and Dubble chocolate, including all important taste-testing!
First off, we chat about why the Ghana flag is coloured as it is – red, yellow and green horizontal stripes with a black central star. The children tell me: red ‘for the blood of our ancestors fighting for independence’; yellow ‘for the mineral wealth of our land’ and green ‘for the forestation’ – the black star represents ‘the hope of Africa’.
Our special guest today is Suzy Pett, founder of Akenkan, a literacy charity which organises UK pupils at Surbiton High School to write and illustrate storybooks that will be relevant for Ghanaian children in rural schools. She linked up with Divine to create the beautifully illustrated (by student Inji Kang) ‘Where the Cocoa Beans Go?’ and today, Suzy is thrilled to be able to read the book with the children of Kuapa Kokoo farmers for whom the ‘Pa Pa Paa!’ references make perfect sense!
We start off with reading round the group in pairs, something the children are familiar with from school but when we get them on their feet and dramatizing the action they are intrigued. Now we’re all in a long conga-train tunneling down down down into the Underground… ‘watch yourself on the escalator getting off now’ – this is all in the book but I also tell them how the recent farmers who visited the UK for Fairtrade Fortnight in March – Mary & Esther - were agog at the escalators although they mastered the on-off technique pretty quickly!
How to explain the London Eye? Well, with the help of the sweeping vista of Kumasi rooftops outside the conference room window and the silhouetted images in the book we (sort of) manage it.
The children are really interested in how chocolate is made and with the help of the Pa Pa Paa photos we journey from the Recorder’s office, on trucks to the district Kuapa office where the beans are checked by Kuapa and Cocobod and then on the green Kuapa lorries to Tema or Takoradi port. Now, we are transported to the Weinrich factory in Germany and the children touch and smell the samples of cocoa mass and butter we’ve brought along. Soon everyone is ‘conching’ their imaginary chocolate couverture Azonto style - feet swizzling on the floor and arms slowly stirring the imaginary vat of couverture, to the smiles and giggles of the children.
Just time before lunch to unwrap their tasters of Divine milk and Dark Divine to see which they prefer (mostly the milk!) Some of the children keep their mini-bars for later appreciation. Lunch today is another hit – meat patty and a cold pineapple juice, perfect.