Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Sugar and Ash

I am sitting here thinking about three bags of sugar totally 3kg. That is the amount of chocolate each person in Britain eats on average every year. Well, there must be a good number of people who don't eat much chocolate so that means many people eat more than 3kg. No wonder there is a thriving chocolate industry. I remember visiting Cadbury's World last year and seeing bar after bar moving along the production line and wondering about our consumption, that someone somewhere in the world was eating a bar as fast as they were produced and that was only one production line producing one named bar.

Writing about chocolate on day one of my fast is temptation at its worst, however in Counting my Blessings today I am asked to give 10p for every bar of chocolate I have eaten in the past week. Well, I could respond, I am saving my money today because I not sure whether I have eaten a bar this last week. Yet, I have eaten chocolate cakes, chocolate dessert, chocolate toffees....and so it goes on. Chocolate is part of an indulgent way of life for us in the west...and my contribution to the 3kg grows every week. It is also a way of life for farmers in poorer areas of our world. Christian Aid provides farmers in places like Nicaragua with cocoa seeds, and each costs 10p, which can in turn give them and their families a regular income.

That to me in the real challenge, if seeds cost 10p then someone loses out somewhere in order for me to eat chocolate cheaply. I don't often eat Nicaraguan chocolate, probably because it costs more. If we all then just ate a couple of pieces of more expensive chocolate instead of a whole bar that 3kg average would go down and farmers struggling to make a living in farming cocoa would have more of a chance. My 10p today (now placed where I can see it throughout Lent sat next to a jar of sugar) is extremely symbolic as I atone for all my greed.

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