I heard a comment earlier on Al Jazeera talking about the Tamil war in Sri Lanka which went along the lines of 'without reunification there's no healing process, without a healing process, there's no economy for the country'
The same could be said of Cote d'Ivoire, the divide between north & south; pro-Gbagbo & pro-Ouattara. So much healing has to be done; again!
A poster for the elections that I wanted to photograph whilst there but with the political situation it would have been 'difficult' said: "I'm 8 years old, I want to grow up with peace" It's true so many children were born during the last crisis & don't really know the country at peace.
So what can be done?
A lot, I feel!
In February I was contacted by the journalist James North to assist him in the country. He did an amazing job showing the cocoa situation in Cote d'Ivoire. The multinationals of Callebaut, ADM & Cargill are happily buying up supplies but giving very little back to the farmer on the ground
Remembering a taxi journey to Aboisso in January, two cocoa farmers were beside me in my taxi lamenting over the cost of a chocolate bar in Cote d'Ivoire & how much cocoa they need to sell to be able to buy one! Many can't afford to purchase the end product of their raw material.
Along with my own worries of how to get enough funds for C.R.E.E.R's construction, hearing that now more than ever, there are children in desperate need. These large cocoa organisations along with the Mayfair, London hedge fund company Aramjaro are more than able to fund projects in areas of Cote d'Ivoire that are in need.
Easter starts tomorrow, I for one won't be eating any chocolate unless I know where it's come from ... I would love to be able to eat Ivoirian chocolate one day knowing the source of it & the labour used; whilst knowing that C.R.E.E.R is sheltering the cocoa-farm destined trafficked kids and giving them vocational skills for an independant adult life.