I am currently somewhere in the middle of my 18-hour journey to Ghana, West Africa (and have scheduled this post for publication). I have been alluding to this trip on Twitter and Facebook as three weeks ago I was invited by Cadbury to be a part of the final leg of its Bicycle Factory campaign. I am the only person from the West Coast who was invited along on this trip and I will be joined by Darius Bashar, a blogger and social technology evangelist from Toronto.
Since 2009 Cadbury has been running the Bicycle Factory program that has encouraged Canadians to enter UPC codes online from their Fair Trade Dairy Milk bars, Caramilk, or other Cadbury products in exchange for digital “bike parts”. For every “digital bike part” a real bike was assembled. These bicycles were delivered to villages in Ghana later that year and I’m coming along for the next delivery of over 4,000 bicycles this week.
Here in Vancouver we may take bicycles for granted — either renting tandems for a cruise around the sea wall, or cursing a road closure to allow for the construction of a bike lane. However in the Ghanaian villages I will visit, it means so much more. Children, youth, and families can now travel further, faster, without walking or missing out on school or services that are not available within the vicinity of their homes.
Cadbury has a large presence in Ghana as cocoa is a one of the country’s largest industries. In 2008 they established the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, local governments, farmers, and communities and in 2009 they committed to establishing Fairtrade status. Cadbury, who since achieved status in 2010, currently partners with Kuapa Kokoo, the Fairtrade Certified Cocoa Farmers Co-operative that ensures those working in the cocoa industry to are able to achieve a sustainable livelihood. Please note: I researched this background information myself when I was considering the trip and was not supplied this information by Cadbury. I have also not been paid to participate in this campaign.
I have no idea what to expect in terms of the bicycle delivery this week, the visits to the villages, and meeting these families, but I am very much looking forward to everything that I will learn.
With my grandmother (my beloved “Oma”) still in the hospital, I left with much anxiety, a heavy heart, and tears bubbling up from so many emotions. This is most definitely an adventure of a lifetime and I know she wants me to go. I look forward to sending her video messages from Ghana and kissing her cheek upon my return.
All posts from this trip will use the tag: Africa. Disclosure: My airfare and accommodations have been covered.