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Journey to Ivory Coast | Chapter IV | Blockchain and the cocoa supply chain

This morning with Andrea, Imma, Nella, Hervé and Solò we left at dawn to reach Ayamé, the headquarters of the Agrimagni cooperative.

Travel time is about a couple of hours and a half traveling in a northeast direction, toward the Ghanaian border. The road is much nicer than the one made to Tiassalé and, fortunately, we avoided the traffic in Abdjian.

Along the way we encounter villages inhabited by many people. Particularly striking to me among them was Aboisso and its market. Myriads of stalls populated by Pagne, a typical African fabric, colorful and with beautiful prints. Continuing the journey we skirt the Lac de Ayamé, an immense lake with a very peculiar shape, which, I would later discover on the Internet, resembles a meadow with trees of different sizes.

Lac de Ayamé, Ivory Coast

Here it is, the Internet. It makes me wonder that the connection comes to these remote villages. What does remote mean? Seeing landscapes and finding lifestyles so different from those in the West makes me think I am in a remote, almost primitive place, but actually for those who live there this is normal. The lost one is me thinking this way, and the presence of internet connection should not be surprising.

Here we are in Ayamé. I immediately notice the presence of something different, something that makes the village more affluent than other places we have visited (I will find out why a little later, now I am enjoying the charm of the village).

We have to get to a place called Pouponniere, I don't know what it is, I just know we have to meet the Agrimagni cooperative. There are drawings of Donald Duck, Tom and Jerry, the Smurfs. Weird.

We enter and are greeted by a secretary who seats us in a meeting room and offers us coffee and tea, also puts a basket of sandwiches on the table in case we are hungry. With hospitality like that, one immediately feels at home.

Here come the guys from Agrimagni. With them an Italian lady. My questions about where we are begin to thicken.

Having begun the round of introductions, I finally make acquaintance with the people involved in the Trusty-Agrimagni project, including Monsieur Allou with whom we have collaborated a great deal over the past few months (Imma in person, I deferred). How wonderful to be able to meet him in person! Finally, the Italian lady takes the floor and I finally understand where we are: we are inside the headquarters of the Magni Foundation's pivotal activity, a hospital for HIV-positive children ranging in age from zero to eight. These children have been abandoned or are orphaned. For me, who thought I would be talking about cocoa and traceability right away, it was a cold shower.

After the presentation is over, the program includes a visit to the cooperative's headquarters and plantations. Along the way, Andrea tells me the story of Mr. Magni's meeting with the work that Agency No.1 is doing in Ayamé, an activity aimed at donating essential services to the community, including the hospital. Out of this meeting, Pouponniere will be born.

After some driving (and bogging down our Jeep, sometimes 4x4 is not enough) we arrive at the site, an enchanting place with extraordinary vegetation.

Agrimagni cooperative headquarters in Ayamé

Some areas are dedicated to drying cocoa beans, others to fermentation, and still others to different crops, such as rubber.

Activities like these need to be supported. Knowing that as Trusty we are doing this by helping the Agrimagni cooperative (which supports this facility financially) and Choco+ gives me even more motivation and charge. Behind the technology are people and communities, we have an obligation not to forget that.

As we enjoy a fruit from the cocoa plant, Imma tells me that initially they physically gathered here to work and set up the whole process flow. The comings and goings of electricity forced them to move to the foundation headquarters, but fortunately the purchase of the mini-solar panel we made provided them with some stability. We visit some plantations that have implemented our system, walk in the middle of the forest, cross streams through logs, meet farmers, talk about future developments--what else?

Visit to some of the cooperative plantations that have implemented Trusty

For lunch, space for typicality: fufù and rabbit (and chili to no end).

Visit to Pouponniere, the extraordinary hospital for HIV-positive children

Before departing back to Centre Abel, we visited the interior of the Pouponniere.

Very strong experience.

A breath of optimism and positivity comes when we see the work and extreme care of internal staff. Activities like these need to be supported. Knowing that like Trusty, we are doing this in part by helping the Agrimagni cooperative (which supports this facility financially) and Choco+ gives me even more motivation and charge. Behind the technology are people and communities; we have an obligation not to forget that. After the hospital visit is over, we look at each other with Andrea, "Do you understand the importance of what we are doing and why we can and must do even more?" Wordlessly, I nod. I understand well. Pat on the shoulder, we depart for Centre Abel.

Fair & Trusty trade is a project sponsored by AICS Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.

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