“Ghana was never on my list of top travel destinations, but after spending a week in the capital city of Accra for my Global Business Experience, I feel so fortunate to have been exposed to such an interesting and friendly culture.
I spent my spring global experience with about 35 classmates, professors and alumni to Accra to learn more about Mondelez International’s Cocoa Life program – which aims to increase cocoa sustainability through a variety of pillars such as farming, environment, livelihood, community and youth.
I was part of a team of five amazing ladies examining the Cocoa Life program through the lens of women’s economic empowerment.
To aid our understanding of the challenges female cocoa farmers face, we met with several nonprofit and government groups to talk about existing interventions, but the real learning came when we visited a cocoa farm community.
Farmers walked us through the process of harvesting, cracking, fermenting and drying cocoa – even allowing us an opportunity for some hands-on practice. We also learned how to make fufu – a doughy ball of mashed cassava – before enjoying a lunch of spicy goat stew among the cocoa trees.
Before leaving for the day, we heard from a women’s group that makes soap using the shell of cocoa pods as an additional source of income. We learned that when women make money, they spend it on the family. But when men make money, they spend it on themselves. Our day on the cocoa farm was an experience of a lifetime. I can say the same about every day we spent in Ghana.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would have the opportunity to speak with tribal chiefs on Ghana’s Independence Day, learn about the devastating history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade at Elmina Castle, climb the terrifyingly high tree canopies at Kakum National Park or even eat freshly grilled spicy tilapia with my hands literally in the streets of Osu.
Ghana met and exceeded every expectation I had for the Global Business Experience.”