One of the precious treats that we are so used to in the developed world –
— our chocolates…
— are too often missing… from our world’s far off villages.
Writing about ‘missing’ chocolate – is like writing a post about missing refrigeration, sleeping on concrete floors – and battling floodwaters and mosquitos – it’s like – writing post about the lack of healthcare, and reminiscing over the separations of time and space from old friendships and close relationships – about nights and meals spent away from your own children. Missing chocolate falls hand-in-hand with the discomforting realities of poverty – oppression, and the hope and faith of humanitarian mission work – which, like a sacred and holy marriage to a life-cause, are all worthy of a blog post of their own.
So… Why do people sleep in beds? Why do people need to stay dry? Are all questions that our readers could ask. People who live in poverty – or slave-like conditions can explain and humanize the answers to those questions more directly than any imagined list that privileged ones – who have never lived wihout those comforts -would ever be able to ponder. The world’s poor – could offer tips that could help anyone live better whom might someday find themselves living in such sorrowful conditions.
Chocolate has a higher iron content than many foods, and in the absence – or infrequency – of a supply of red meat, chocolate is craved more deeply in the village, for those, like humanitarian workers from the developed world, who know what it is. However, supplies of it are short, and sweet – because it has to be refrigerated during shipping, which isn’t easy to cover in the hot vans.
I know this – because I have tried and tried to bring the joys of chocolate to the children in our village. I have learned that the easiest way to travel with chocolate – is to travel with tins of powdered cocoa. If you are not able to find or travel with tins of cocoa, which are also available in the airport cities of most world nations, homemade caramel is also an easy treat – and the ingredients can be found easily in nearly every nation.
Once, I remember boarding an airplane after a very rough trip. I had not eaten enough, and I had worked too hard in the village. A flight attendant smiled as I stepped from the ramp into the plane, crossing myself for a safe flight.
She had a basket in her hands, full of king-sized candy bars.
Or – maybe they were not king-sized, they were just developed-world proportioned.
The look on my face must have gone incredulous, because if I remember right, she handed me two of them.
Once you know what chocolate is, you would never be satisifed with any less than the real thing.
It was one of the most gracious kindnesses – when abundance met a deep need in the perfect moment. Like cute little Hershey’s kisses of reassurances that there was something right still in the world.
It’s that feeling that you get when you know that someone was aware of something small that would bring you joy.
Chocolate has an interesting traveling history of it’s own – and while I crave chocolate often, very often, I always want to enjoy it – slowly, and a little bite after little bite. A supply of chocolate is good for the mind, body and soul. Often, when traveling, I will buy a huge bag of chocolate-covered cherries and or berries with a shared-membership from Costco.
As political relationships seem to be changing daily, I hope that there is still something right with the world, and that there is still goodness, and love hidden in the far-off corners of it. We are depending on this right now, and our faith in God, and are placing our hope and our actions – every day – into our faith in that love – and the love for our close friends, our children, and our love for those in distant places, is always going to be strong and intelligent enough, because it comes directly from a God who love’s love. If you have any international relationships, or just close relationshps in general I’d encourage you to talk to them sometime this week, and to offer them the ‘chocolate’ and goodness of conversation and life. Good conversations are like chocolate. Love needs to be a little bit louder these days, and closer. Creativity with words that express love are just reflections of the capacity and abundance of our brilliant Creator.
Click on the picture above for a Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe, which also also found me like a basket of candy bars on a hungry flight, all melted together with the comforting flavors of marshmallow and vanilla.