Part I: Meeting a slave to chocolate in Ivory Coast (video)

I met a slave when I visited a cocoa farm in Ivory Coast researching WHERE AM I EATING.

His name is Solo.

Shortly after we first met, a villager began recording Solo teaching me how to harvest cocoa.  (As a writer, it’s rare that I capture such poignant moments on video.)  I began to ask Solo about his life, where he was from, what he gets paid, when certain disturbing facts came to light:

1) He called his boss “master”

2) He had worked 4 months and hadn’t been paid

3) He told me that the donkeys are treated better than he is because at least they get fed when they don’t work

4) He asked to leave and wasn’t allowed to

5) Solo is a slave.

Here’s the video of us working in the cocoa fields:

After we worked in the fields, I asked if we could talk alone. I captured the audio of our conversation. I’ll post it tomorrow.

 
4 comments

[...] I wish I could’ve spent the whole time just talking about Solo, the slave I met in Ivory Coast, or Juan the banana farmer, or Flor the coffee farmer.   Add a comment Tweet ! [...]

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[...] That they often have to rely on slave labor. (The industry relies on 160,000 slaves in Ivory Coast. I sort of freed one. It’s complicated.) That they long for knowledge on how to farm better, but receive little [...]

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