In June 2015, HELLO undertook a cocoa-farming project in Lofa County, Liberia. The purpose of the cocoa farm, which so far has 15,000 cocoa trees, is to provide sustainability. HELLO will use proceeds from the sale of the cocoa to build a mission. The mission will consist of a school, a church, and dormitories for boarding students. It will also have a clinic, staff quarters and library etc. There will have a vacation Bible school, where youth can go in the summer to teach the Bible. Agriculture is one of the subjects that will be taught. Students doing this course will have the opportunity to learn hot to grow and maintain cocoa as well as hot to do other farming/gardening on the 200 acres HELLO has acquired.
The fifteen thousands cocoa trees that are growing on the farm were planted in two phases. The first phase was in 2015. During this time, two thousands five hundred trees were planted. The second phase in 2016 saw eight thousand cocoa trees planted. And the third phase was in the summer of 2017. During this time we planted five thousand trees. The cocoas have been growing very well and some are now beginning to develop pods. The cocoa farm has become a source of employment for many in the community. On average we employ fourteen men. The cocoa farm serves as the only source of employment for these men. They use the money to buy food and clothes for their families and pay their children’s school fees.
Some of the work being done on the farm include clearing the bush, making nurseries and watering them, digging the holes to plant the cocoa underground, and under brushing the cocoa trees. The workers have been very thankful to HELLO for providing work for them. During our visit to Liberia in the summer of 2016, we were told that one of the workers who received pay for the first time was so happy that he chartered a motorbike (a popular form of transportation) to take him home. When he got there he gave the money to his wife and said, “Here take it. Where I came from there is a lot more and I am going back.” He then got on the motorbike and returned to the cocoa farm to work.