A cocoa farmer’s Christmas Tree

22 December 2011

Further to Francis’ last post about cocoa farmers’ Christmas, Monica Dadzie of Kuapa Kokoo adds:

Monica Dadzie, Gender programme manager at Kuapa Kokoo

One unique thing about cocoa farmers (and people in the farming communities) and Christmas is the way they mark festivities; They uproot either cocoa plant, plantain plant or pawpaw plant and replant them in front of their houses and use them as Christmas trees and hang balloons on them. The replanting is done on the 24th. Most of these plants survive and most people take their harvest from these plants to the church as offering to God, and others to their loved ones or use themselves.

 

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Christmas comes to Kuapa

22 November 2011

Francis Frimpong

Francis Kwakye Frimpong (of Kuapa Kokoo Ltd) posts on Christmas traditions amongst the members of Kuapa Kokoo:

Amanfe, in the Brong Ahafo region, can be described as a typical settler farming village with land size of about 220 square feet. 300 people live there, mostly farmers. Out of this number, over 45 are Kuapa members. About 650 bags of cocoa are produced at Amanfe.

On my recent visit I talked to people there about how they celebrate Christmas. I first met up with the leader of the community, Nana Asamoah Yeboah, himself a Kuapa member, who said their Christmas season starts on the night of December 24th when they plant a ‘Christmas’ tree, build a hut around it out of palm leaves,  and decorate the hut with flowers and balloons.

Early morning of 25th December is dedicated toremembering relatives, friends and other members of the community who have passed on to the next world. This they do by pouring a libation. Afterwards, the elders make toasts in schnapps andother drinks before they attend church services. They do all this to commemorate their dead ones.

 The children are ushered into the festive mood when the family returns from church. The parents and other relatives give them treats of balloons, minerals, biscuits and toffees to enjoy.

The merry making continues the following day, 26th December – a day dedicated to cooking ‘extra-ordinary’ foods fit for the occasion. Some of these dishes are sent to the homes of loved ones and vice-versa. Rice and fufu,with goat or chicken meat are the commonfoods enjoyed by the community during the Christmas festivities.

In celebratory mood (image by Elizabeth Hudson)

26th December is also the day when the children put on their best clothes to visit relations and family friends in other villages. At times, the children are accompanied by the parents during these visits as they too use the opportunity to exchange fraternal season’s greetings. 

Madam Mary Yeboah another Kuapa members in the community added that preparation for Christmas starts way back in October when the new cocoa season is declared open by the government.

According to her, as soon they receive money from the sale of their cocoa, deductions are made as to how much they would re-invest into their farming and children’s education, the rest is used in purchasing items that would be needed to celebrate the yuletide.

Asked to name specifically some items they buy in advance for Christmas, Georgina Kumi Afari mentioned sardines, eggs, chickens, biscuits, oil, rice, yams, cloths, materials as some of the items they buy ahead of the season.

On the menu for Christmas? (Image by Kevin Gould)

In a year that they don’t produce much, the farmers cut short their celebrations and return to the farms on the 27th which is supposed to be a holiday, but only in a year that they get maximum returns; theday is observed as a rest day by the whole community.

Amanfe community,  like most communities in Ghana also use NewYear’s day to adopt resolutions after church service. Among some of their NewYear resolutions are; measures for improving their farms, improvements for children’s education, new businesses and projects they intend doing in addition to their farms.

On a community level, Amanfe has been able to build its own school for their children’s education and  a clinic which still needs staff at the moment.

Their aim for the coming year is to build teachers’ quarters and also to acquire good clean drinking water.


Divine goes to the Panto!

7 December 2009

Evelyn Greedly tucks into Divine before making mischief in Jack and the Beanstalk

Divine supported the first night of  Christmas panto  ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ at the Lyric Hammersmith – and Sophi and I went along with our families to watch the show.  The familiar story of a poor boy whose poverty and desperation is exploited by a wicked schemer who gives him a poor price for his most valuable asset….. had a strange resonance for us!

It was a great show – with the very special innovation that the real star of the cast was the cow  – being played by a Spanish bull in drag!  Some great performances, lots of in-jokes about Hammersmith, singing and dancing, plus plenty of hissing and booing and ‘he’s behind you!’ to satisfy an audience of all ages. 

Jack would have traded his cow for a few Divine bars!

Also great to see the Lyric going ahead with its ambitious expansion plans to enable it to offer a full range of services and courses to the local community.

Jill does a great Beyonce impersonation - fuelled by Divine!

Jill does a great Beyonce impersonation - fuelled by Divine!

Jack's mum Wendy Windsor and her admirer Plug

The Dame and her admirer Plug


Divine at The Spirit of Christmas fair

5 November 2009

Divine is exhibiting at The Spirit of Christmas fair at Kensington Olympia until Sunday.  Run in association with House & Garden magazine this hugely popular event attracts shoppers in their thousands.  Laura and I were manning the stall yesterday and had a great day chatting to chocolate lovers at the show.   It’s incredible to see so many people being so organised about their Christmas gift buying already!  We were really thrilled that so many visitors had tried our bars when they bought Marie Claire magazine last month as well as trying out our fantastic recipe for Rich French Torte that was featured in Waitrose Food Illustrated magazine last month.  We sampled Divine’s newest flavour, Dark Chocolate with Raspberries and if our sales of that flavour are anything to go by, it’s a winning flavour!  You’ll find this zesty bar at Waitrose and Ocado if you’re not able to attend the fair. 

Come and get yourself in the Christmas mood at Spirit – there are literally hundreds of stands selling everything gift idea you could possibly imagine.  Click here for details: http://www.spiritofchristmasfair.co.uk/

You’ll find Divine upstairs in the food area on stand FD52.  Come and say hello, sample some of our fabulous flavours, and take a little chocolate respite from the crowds downstairs.