CHOCOLATE & PERSPECTIVE
Watching these cacao farmers taste chocolate for the first time, I am shamed and humbled to think of how chocolate represents so many things we first worlders exploit, enjoy, and take for granted while the people who make them possible for us subsist.
And then I am also grateful for the lessons - not only in the significance of what we've come to call "fair trade," but for the reminder that standard of living and quality of life are not the same thing. They are, to a point, positively correlated, and then as we hit a point of diminishing returns, their paths diverge. Because standard of living is largely concerned with how easy is our access to material things - things that, up to a certain point, remove a certain cruelty and hardship from our lives, and then after a certain point of accumulation, begin to erode our sense of contentment and gratitude for them.
That these men who've been producing cacao all their lives can experience such wonder and joy from their first taste of chocolate reminds us that while we may have something to show them about achieving a certain standard of living, they have much to teach us about quality of life.