In 2013, Divine Chocolate was delighted to host a visit in the UK during Fairtrade Fortnight from Kuapa Kokoo members Mary Appiah and Esther Mintah Ephraim -- both from the Western Region of Ghana and both first time travelers to the UK.
At the time of their visit, Mary was 60 years old and had a 7.5 acre farm in Enchi. She had been a member of Kuapa since 2007. Esther was 28 with a family farm in Agyedum consisting of 38 acres. She had been a member of Kuapa since 2005.
Read on below for highlights from their visit!
- Attended Fairtrade events at St. Mary le Bow Church, St Paul’s Cathedral, in Crystal Palace, and in Haringay – telling audiences about their lives, about the impact that Fairtrade and owning Divine has on them, and their hopes for the future.
- Toured a real mix of shops where Divine is stocked – they delighted customers who weren’t expecting to meet cocoa farmers when they bought their chocolate – from Liberty’s to Budgens in Crouch End, and Whole Foods to Oxfam in Covent Garden.
- Participated in the international Women of the World Festival (WOW) at the Southbank Centre for International Women’s Day – they were among amazing women from all backgrounds and circumstances.
- Visited Primary school St. Barnabus in Tunbridge Wells, Imperial College, and Royal College of Art -- each hosted a lovely event at which Mary and Esther narrated a film about cocoa and answered questions about how belonging to Kuapa Kokoo has changed their lives.
- Visited Hadlow College -- Esther and Mary shared knowledge and experience with farming students, including many international students from Africa. This visit also included a tour of the College farm (and the size of all the animals amazed them)!
- Divine Pop Up Shop in Monmouth Street WC2 – they talked to customers and spoke at a discussion event entitled “Can smallholder farmers save the world?”
- Joined in our free Azonto dance sessions, the Ghanaian dance craze sweeping the world.
What were some of their own takeaways from the visit?
- “Everywhere we went, we felt proud to be here and to be representing our co-operative. Our presence here is a demonstration of how things are changing for cocoa farmers.”
- They loved fish & chips, but they hated escalators.
- They were amazed by Tower Bridge and the fact it could open, and they were amazed by the size of the Thames.
- They were delighted by the glimpses of countryside through the train window on the way to Kent, and impressed by buildings, roads, and automatically opening doors.
They took all of their experiences back with them -- and most importantly, the impression that growing cocoa is worthwhile, the UK loves chocolate, and everyone they met loved Divine. In turn, they inspired so many more people here to support Fairtrade and to cherish and value the favorite foods we buy – especially chocolate!