In The Chocolate Dream, we believe that to fulfill a dream, the union of many is required, and we firmly believe in art and culture as detonators of development.
This is the story of our first volunteering, a tale where art and teamwork were integrated to take the first step —of many we have given so far—intending to generate development in one of the cocoa regions where we work.
Our cocoa forest in Necoclí employs people from nearby towns, full of passion and eager to master the cultivation of cocoa, provide for their families and lead the progress of their communities. Among our cocoa farmers, we have 70 workers from Caribia, a small village that is part of the subregion of Urabá, Antioquia, Colombia.
For some time now, its inhabitants began to train as technicians in sustainable tourism and voiced their enthusiasm towards turning their village into a touristic destination, taking advantage of its historical wealt —it was the first settlement in the area and had a tremendous ethnic diversity—. This was an excellent opportunity to support the Caribia community by helping them spread to the world the energy and generosity their people carry in their hearts, and their relentless desire to move forward. We were thrilled to display that inner beauty into the community, by transforming Caribia into a vibrant touristic destination. With this grand challenge on our hands, Luker Chocolate recruited happy volunteers to paint the Caribia dream in colors, and this is how Pinta Caribia was born.
For us Pinta Caribia is more than just an initiative, it is the tangible metaphor and magical realism that exists around the cocoa pod, that not only nurtures the beans but also nurtures lives and builds dreams around it. With our hearts filled with empathy and lots of excitement, the sustainability team of The Chocolate Dream started to materialize the execution of Pinta Caribia.
This is how we got in touch with the Orbis-Pintuco Foundation (organization with experience generating development through education and color in vulnerable populations throughout Colombia) and together we saw the potential of doing an artistic day in which volunteers from Luker Chocolate and inhabitants of Caribia would paint as a team until the last house of the village.
The Orbis-Pintuco Foundation helped us to create a program in which 20 young people from Caribia applied to be trained as technicians in painting. Now we only needed the materials, because we had to collect 500 gallons of paint. Between the Orbis Pintuco Foundation, Luker Chocolate and its collaborators, we collected donations to reach the goal. Additionally, 30 of our collaborators, including the management committee, travelled as volunteers to participate in Pinta Caribia, the name we decided to put on this initiative and work shoulder to shoulder with the workers of our farm.
Painting a Dream
And the big day finally arrived, on June 22nd, more than 30 volunteers and Caribians united their efforts around the dream of turning Caribia into the most colorful place in Necoclí. The palette was carefully selected to represent the colors found in the cultivation of cocoa, colors that for the Caribia population have a deep meaning: blue symbolizing tranquility, green representing the peace found in the village, yellow representing the prosperity achieved in the cocoa fields and red for the love they have for their community and families.
Each volunteer helped two families to paint their houses while receiving assistance from the inhabitants who had previously been trained by the Orbis-Pintuco Foundation. Also, the community was responsible for preparing breakfast, lunch and food, thus concretizing great teamwork and strengthening the links between Luker Chocolate and the community.
Shoulder to shoulder, despite the heat and exhaustion, we worked for a common goal and this effort was reflected in the results: 100 houses were painted that day, from the primary school, community center, nursery, to the playgrounds.
The Chocolate Dream colors covered more than 100 houses in the small town, and these colors tell the story of how dreaming together and working together can make dreams a beautiful reality. Today we want to thank the community of Caribia for allowing us to connect with their dreams, open the doors of their homes and let us fill their lives with color and chocolate; without a doubt, they also painted our hearts.