Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cuckoo for Cocoa

Today, we visited the Cocoa Research Institute (CRIG), an arm of the Cocoa Marketing Board. It is an amazing location that is filled with various farms and labs (and even a golf course!). CRIG tests the cocoa crops to make sure they are producing at maximum capacity. Our guide there showed us the entire process from growing to distributing. We also met a group of scientists who employ various scientific methods to see how the plants are responding. Before we left we made sure to buy more of their great chocolate bars, hot chocolate, and other products. Check out the process below - they make jams, soap, and liqours all with the cocoa bean!

After this, we drove a long time to go to lunch. We actually had lunch in a nice restaurant at the Botanical Gardens.

In Ghana, when you have a large group and you order food, it can take a while to make it, so we went to the Woodcarver’s Village, which was a short distance away. Going to the Woodcarver’s Village was a great exercise in bargaining and negotiations. At the market in Ghana you are expected to negotiate the price. Our tour guide let us know that someone will tell you a price and you should never accept that. You always offer something closer to what you are willing to pay.

Some walked away with amazing deals. (Those of note: Jake bargained a carving down from 50 Ghana cedi’s to 20 Ghana cedi’s; Marcus got a painting down from 30 GH to 10 GH; Michael got more than a few things marked down over 50%). For all, it was an exciting way to sharpen our bargaining skills.

Among the entertaining, many of the female students wanted to know what it was like for the Ghanaian women to carry babies on their backs. Below is Aileen giving it a try with the approval of the child's mother.

We closed out the day with some Fan Ice, which is essentially ice cream in a pack. The students say it tastes like birthday cake. This was the last thing we did before we came back to the hotel. We have to pack tonight because we leave for Cape Coast tomorrow at 7:30 am. We are there for an entire day before we return to Accra. We’re all looking forward to tomorrow and learning more about this great country.

Falling for Ghana,
Kelley in Ghana 2010

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