Progress toward the establishment of a cocoa study center is as follows:
1. In terms of content, we are currently exploring a relationship with an NGO that provides university students with the opportunity of volunteering in Third World countries and receiving academic credit. We will be holding talks after the Christmas break concerning the possibility of students living in 5 villages in Ghana (the five villages that I visit every year--see www.projecthopeandfairness.org and www.africatrips1347.blogspot.com) for one week, then traveling to Ekona, Cameroon, where we would spend a week at the cocoa study center (buildings already exist) where we would learn to make chocolate and work with farmers on marketing it.
2. In terms of financing, we received a $10,000 donation to build a rice hulling and chocolate making operation in Depa, Cote d'Ivoire. This will serve five villages and will liberate women from having to pound rice every day, which takes at least an hour of their time. Next summer, I will carry a chocolate machine plus molds and conduct my first operation in Cote d'Ivoire. We have raised other, lesser sums, which will help pay the total $15,000 cost.
3. I am now making chocolate from three different nibs and selling it (www.mama-ganache.com). By Dec. 15, I will be selling 7 different flavors of bars, all of which contribute 50 cents each toward the cocoa study center.
4. I am selling gift cards ($10 each) to fund three projects--the cocoa study center, the rice/chocolate operation in Depa, and a bridge in Cameroon. Each card contains two pieces of chocolate that I manufactured from the bean. Please see attached file.
Next quarter, I hope to have firmed up our relationship with the NGO and report back to you that we have added our organization as one of the internships available to university students from all over the world.
Tom Neuhaus (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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