20 April 2004 Entry: "Sugar, sugar"
I'm writing this in an internet cafe in Blantyre, Malawi, with sugar on my mind. I'm over here for a week working for Traidcraft and yesterday Diya, the photographer and I visited some of the villages where the sugar cane farmers that supply Traidcraft live.
It was an amazing experience. They work so hard, starting at 4am in the morning, and have such basic homes and lifestyles. We went into the home of one of the women farmers who is in her 60s. Since her husband and brother died, she's been the only breadwinner for her household, which now includes her brother's children. The house was made of mud bricks, with some water pots inside and a place for cooking outside. She was so happy that because of fair trade they've got money to buy extra food, including meat and most of all to educate the children and grandchildren.
Then we went to another village that has just got fresh, clean water for the first time. The fair trade premium on the sugar has paid for a borehole to be built, just last month.
When we got back to Blantyre Diya and I came into the internet cafe to check our emails. First one I opened was from Diamond Twig asking if I'd be interested in writing a poem on.... sugar! What a surprise, I replied yes.