I remember the day as if it were yesterday. It was a moderately sunny day and I was playing outside with my two brothers. It was a Sunday and we always practiced soccer on Sunday in preparation for when we played our friends that lived one village away. We had not eaten in days because we simply did not have enough money to afford any type of food. Now comes the part that I have tried to block from my memory for so long. Our father approached us and told my brothers and I to follow him down this random dirt road. We always did what we were told so we followed. We walked for what seemed like eternity until we reached what looked like a farm of some kind. Our father told us to wait as he met with this mysterious man I had never seen before. This man and my father shook hands and gave my father what looked like a large sum of money. That was the last thing I remember before a bag was placed over my head. I remember feeling pain the more I tried to break free from the man that restrained me. Then it all went black.
As I woke up, I had no idea what day it was or where I was. However, the sun rose and I was ushered to the cocoa fields. I was given a machete and told to climb this tree. Meanwhile, I was looking around and all I could see were other young boys around the same age as I was. The youngest being around 8 years old. I kept looking for my two brothers but I could not find them and every time I stopped to look, I got whipped twice on my back.
I was forced to climb this tree and cut down the cocoa beans. Once I knocked the pods down I had to place them in a bag and carry them to another location. The only problem was that I had not eaten in days and the sack weighed twice as much as I did. I had some other workers help place the sack on my back, but it was always a struggle to move the pods. If I went to slow I would be punished so there was always a pressure to move as fast as possible regardless of the pain I was in. I had to take the machete and cut open the pods. This was always the stage in the harvest when things got messy; literally. Every ten minutes another child cut himself from the machete. Everyone had an abundant amount of scars on their arms, backs, legs, hands, and all over.
We had to cut the pods open to get the actual cocoa that was used for who knows what. Other children said it was used for this thing called chocolate, but I had never heard or tasted such a thing. I wonder if the people who use this cocoa realize all of the blood and sweat that has gone into harvesting these cocoa beans. The worst part about all of this is that we would get to go to sleep, yet when we woke up the torture started all over again. It feels as though it will never end. I always wonder how it was that I got here and will I ever be able to leave?