Coals to Newcastle

Perhaps the equivalent phrase for the modern age would be “Chocolate to Ghana”. Ghana’s one of the world’s biggest cocoa producers but it doesn’t export actual chocolate – or only in peoples’ hand luggage. It doesn’t have much of a chocolate industry, so all the cocoa goes overseas.

Of course, Ghanaians like chocolate as much as the next person and so usually when I go I take chocolates. The first time I went, I thought I was taking them for the children – my mother in law soon set me straight on that. This time, of course, I intend to take Fair Trade chocolate. Although I have to admit, I don’t know when I’ll find the time to make a special trip & get them. Perhaps that’s another little job for Germany (like The Haircut). And it seems weirdly ironic to be returning cocoa to Ghana, that’s travelled half way round the world in search of refinement.

I mention this because – ta da, drum roll – it’s Fair Trade fortnight.

By happy coincidence, my birthday falls within Fair Trade Fortnight. Last year I put on fair trade birthday afternoon tea & asked people to donate money rather than give me presents, which I then split evenly between my mother-in law (hey, Mother’s Day also falls within Fair Trade Fortnight!) and the Fair Trade Association. (They each got about $80 – had I not thoughtlessly had my party on Mother’s Day, no doubt I would have raised more, but many potential guests were racing around Sydney visiting mothers).

This year I don’t have time to organise it – and also no longer live in a house with a garden, so have less room for parties. I’ll probably still give my mother in law money when I get to Ghana, but what she really wants, DadaK tells me, is mentholated liniment. So at this stage it may be more important to find that, than dash off to the Oxfam shop in search of chocolate.

I did have grand plans of trying to find out how my rellies in Ghana could be linked up to a fair trader – but possibly I’ll have to do that online after I leave. Thank god for the internet. Divine Chocolate is one mob that works with Ghanaian farmers, tho it’s not Aussie based. I’m looking forward to having a bit more time for this research.

And so I pack my bags, with FT choccies, liniment and big ideas. (Plus hand-me-down soccer boots, fair trade footballs, books, wind-up torches, a solar powered gadget charger, a box of ballpoint pens, more books… Oh, and a few clothes. And lots of drugs (the medical variety). A toothbrush … And my 1.5 kg tin of Milo. Remember that?)

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