Posts tagged ‘basket’
We just added some bundles of Divine chocolate to our online store.
It gives you the chance to sample no less than 8 (EIGHT!) different flavors from Divine. The bars of 3.5oz chocolate come in a wicker basket as standard, or you can upgrade to a beautiful baby bolga basket, also from Ghana.
Here’s a bit of background about Divine (courtesy of their website):
The story starts in 1879 when Tetteh Quarshie first brought cocoa to Ghana from Equatorial Guinea. Since then, Ghanaian cocoa has developed a global reputation for its quality and its taste. Today it is one of the country’s main exports. Ghana is the second largest exporter of cocoa in the world. Most of the cocoa is grown by small-scale family farmers on 4-5 acres of land. Cocoa farming is a precarious business. The trees are vulnerable to various diseases and pests and although chocolate is one of the world’s favorite treats, the cocoa price often dips below the level at which it pays enough for cocoa small-scale farmers to survive.
In the early 1990’s, the cocoa market in Ghana become partially liberalized, allowing for the formation of licensed buying companies to purchase cocoa beans from farmers and sell them to Cocoa Marketing Company that would continue to be the single exporter of Ghana cocoa. A number of farmers, including a visionary farmer representative on the Ghana Cocoa Board, Nana Frimpong Abrebrese, came to realize that they had the opportunity to organize farmers in an industry where their voices were not being heard and set up a licensed buying company that would be run by farmers and for their benefit. These farmers pooled resources to set up Kuapa Kokoo, a farmers’ co-op, which would trade its own cocoa, and thus manage the selling process more efficiently than the government cocoa agents. Kuapa Kokoo – which means good cocoa growers – has a mission to empower farmers in their efforts to gain a dignified livelihood, to increase women’s participation in all of Kuapa’s activities, and to develop environmentally friendly cultivation of cocoa.
Kuapa Kokoo quickly developed a reputation for being fair and honest. In Ghana, the cocoa scale and control of the scale is tremendously important. A cocoa farmer can easily be robbed by unscrupulous clerks that rigged the scales to cheat farmers out of the full value of their crop. Kuapa Kokoo put power over the scales in the hands of farmers by making sure that each village had its own scale and its own elected clerk or village recorder. Further, through its commitment to Fair Trade and sale of cocoa to the Fair Trade market, Kuapa Kokoo was able to return greater benefits to cocoa farmers. Its membership quickly grew. In 1997, at their annual general meeting, the farmers of Kuapa Kokoo voted to set up a chocolate company of their own in order to return even more benefits to cocoa farmers. And with investment from The Body Shop and Twin Trading, and support from Comic Relief and Christian Aid, Divine Chocolate was born.
Divine Chocolate is today a leading Fair Trade brand in the UK and a pioneer in the world of socially responsible enterprise. The success of Divine means that farmers have a secure source of Fair Trade income that continues to grow year on year. Kuapa Kokoo has invested its Fair Trade income in building schools, sinking wells for clean drinking water to villages, providing mobile medical clinics for farmers in remote growing regions, and fostering women’s income generation projects to help women earn additional income for their families when the cocoa season is over. The farmers’ ownership stake in Divine Chocolate means that Kuapa Kokoo has a meaningful input into decisions about how Divine is produced and sold. In addition, Kuapa Kokoo receives a share in the profits from their ownership shares and in 2007 celebrated the first distribution of dividends from Divine in the UK. To further its mission and further increase benefits for cocoa farmers, Divine Chocolate launched a US company to expand into $13 billion American market. In 2006, Divine Chocolate Inc opened in Washington DC to bring fantastic Fair Trade chocolate to US consumers. The farmers of Kuapa Kokoo own one-third of Divine Chocolate in the US.
It’s almost here! Just 24 hours to go and we’re getting excited!
It’s been a long month; falling on the 7th means that this has been the longest gap between First Friday Art Walks that we’ve experienced. Of course, that has just meant even more time for procrastination to set in, the ‘to do’ list to get shuffled and reshuffled, and all the ‘must do’s’ to get completed even later than usual!
We’ve got a great evening in store at Global Fayre:
1 – Kiva Awareness
We’ve been lending through Kiva for some time now, but felt the time was right to step it up a notch. We’re using the Art Walk to promote awareness of Kiva, encourage people to make Kiva loans (in or out of the Global Fayre Lending Team) and to raise funds through purchases. Each purchase (no matter how small) will generate a $1 donation to Kiva. As we reach each $25 milestone, we’ll make the loan there and then, with people in the store making the decision about where the loan should go.
2 – Beautiful Baskets from the Etsha Weavers Group of Botswana.
Friday ses the launch of a month-long show for these wonderful baskets. They are simply the finest we’ve seen since opening the store, and it’s a delight to be able to share then with our customers.
The evening starts at 6pm and will go on until at least 10pm.
We just added two more beautiful baskets to our online store.
They are Zulu Ilala Palm African Baskets, handcrafted in the northeastern coastal area of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. All-natural fibers, materials and dyes are used to construct these unique treasures. Most of the people in this region are subsistence farmers and live in their traditional Kraals, an area fenced in by piles of sticks that contain their traditional huts.
Ilala palm fronds are collected, pulled into strips, naturally dyed and then hung to dry as the traditional Zulu women prepare their materials for basket-weaving. The palm fronds have a waxy coating which makes them ideal for the weaving of watertight baskets.
The age-old tradition of basket weaving is usually passed down from grandmother to granddaughter. Some young girls begin learning the art of weaving as young as age 9. Many are able to put themselves all the way through school, supported solely on the proceeds of their basket sales.
Different patterns on the African baskets also carry different meanings (see list below). The larger baskets are traditionally woven by the bride-to-be or given to the new couple as wedding gifts. During the Zulu wedding the baskets will be used to hold ceremonial beer and they are sometimes called ‘beer baskets’ for that reason. Prior to its first use, the basket’s pores are closed from the inside with a paste of coarsely-ground corn. The more elaborate designs and intricately- patterned baskets denote the relative wealth and power of the family. An elaborate, medium-sized basket may take 30 days to weave.
These two baskets are referred to as Ukhambas (lid fits inside the top, cork-like) and they are actually watertight. The alternative type is known as Isichumo (lid fits over the top, jar-like). Smaller baskets with lids or Iquthu often have a looser weave and are traditionally used to store medicinal herbs. Open bowls or Isiquabetho and Iqoma are used to store nuts, grains, fruits or vegetables while flatter baskets or Mbenges are used as tops to clay jars or open top African baskets.
Here’s what the patterns mean:
Triangle — A masculine symbol
Diamond — A feminine symbol
Double Triangle — Marriage, man
Double Diamond — Marriage, woman
Zig-Zag — Masculine, represents the spear of Shaka, the leader of the Zulu people
Series of Diamonds — Feminine, represents the shields of Shaka
Checkerboards, Whirls or Circles — Good news, new baby, good rains, plentiful harvest
Points Around the Outside — Shows the number of cattle paid as bridewealth (Lobola)
And here’s how the different colors are achieved:
Cream — This is the natural color of the dried ilala palm fronds.
Pink/Lilac — Comes from boiling the palm fibers for a day with the leaves of a certain shrub.
Brown/Black — These most popular colors are attained using the roots of trees from river banks.
Golden Brown — Comes from four hours of boiling with the root of a special shrub-like plant.
Coral — Mixing aloe roots with the same roots that produce the pink colors makes up this color.
Purple/Blue — Boiling for four hours with the skins from a particular ripe berry produces this color.
Grey — The palm fronds are soaked in a black sludge of mud with a high iron content for one week.
Orange — The roots of a small hairy-leafed plant is boiled with the palm fibers for several hours.
Yellow/Mustard — Palm fronds are soaked in a wood ash paste then boiled for seven hours.
Green — Soaking in fresh cow dung overnight then boiling for several hours tints the palm fronds green.
Light Red — Bark and leaves are crushed together and the ilala fibers are boiled in the mixture for two days.
These baskets have similar tones to the Binga baskets.
This is what the 4 look like: