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Documentary Making

Dollar my way to Cacao

Dollar my way to Cacao
Kpalime, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Actually, it is CFA the money of Togo that I will use, but I am going to pay my way to see Cacao, the basic seed of Chocolate.

This sound or seems like big money to people, and it is huge, it is big money and annoying. However, in the perspective of an American or European a person would see me as complaining about nothing.

This is a fact more or less, the average worker here in Togo gets about 1-2 dollars per day as wages.

I am going to pay.

10 dollars for the person who may show us the Cacao and introduce us to his father who probably does not speak French but the local dominant language of Mina.

I am going to pay 50 cents USA, for three people to go one way by Moto to the Cacao fields. However, to insure guarantee we see Cacao. I am going to pay maybe 7-10 US dollar per motorcycle taxi for Michael and me each to rent the use of the moto taxi for the day. I suspect as soon as we go faster than 15 miles per hour, they will think, I am using lots of petrol, I need money for petrol and I will end up giving 2 dollars for the gas, which was included in the price.

I will pay two dollars for the transportation of our semi-guide who is the manager of the Mandela Auberge to introduce us to his father who is the Cacao farmer. I will pay him the 10 dollars guide fee and I think the two dollars for Moto is included.

I pay this whether we see Cacao or not, because when he thinks about Cacao, whether I see Cacao is not important, the fact is he thought about it, therefore he wants the money. Normal underdeveloped country way of thinking, I intended to show you Cacao, so you owe me. I have hedge my bets on Cacao by choosing the manager of the Auberge as he need to return and tell the people around we have seen Cacao. I will tell everyone in the hotel that we are going to see Cacao and reinforce the commitment.

This is why I say dollar my way through, I can pay for this two way, if it was a normal type of tour. I could pay a guide about 100 US dollars and are totally raked over the coal and he will include everything, and I will pay about 500 percent more than needed. I cannot guarantee if I paid 100 dollars that, I see Cacao.

This is the problem about tours, no matter what you pay, you cannot get the guides to guaranteed or do back up that I will see what I want to see. I want to see Cacao today.

I rent a motorcycle today, if our guide fails. I will make Mike the guide and he will go talk to people in Mina and find a Cacao farmer. I will then pay the farmer about 2000 CFA or four dollars and he will be happy as can be because looking at Cacao is free, and he is receiving money for nothing, and so is talking, because everyone knows about Cacao, so he is telling common knowledge and of no value. Even though I do not know and is not common knowledge to me.

I would say the world is empathy impaired, and the big complaint the world has about the USA on world policy. However, our policy is correct, and the world is empathy impaired. Neither side is good at empathy of the perspective of the other.

Ok, if I go and the 5000 Guide fails.
I go to Mike and we find anther field.
I pay and extra 15 US for taxi we do not need if the first guide would work, so I am paying this insurance money, to guaranteed Mike and I can go to the next Cacao farmer when the first guide fail, it he fails.

If the world was perfect and I thought or dream for one second that this would work as told to me the cost would be.
16 U.S. Dollar for the day.

Being, I am experienced, and I am going to take photos of Cacao today.

I am paying about
35-40 U.S. Dollars to guarantee.

This number can go up to 50 U.S. after that, I start to intimidate to get my way, because they trying to bully me, and I need to return the gesture. It could be the guide, I do not think, but could be, the two taxi drivers will become the problem and gang up on us, or Mike. I do not expect Mike or the manager of the Auberge to be a problem. I always expect a Moto to think in terms of greed, they are taxis?

A White Man sits on a moto for two hours, the longer I sit, the longer they think, they start having a conversation with themselves. I did not ask enough, and start to wanting to get me and to pay more. The start to rationalize I need to pay more. I do not pay until I am home… hehehe

No pay in advance here, unless I am stupid, I pay for small cost, like petrol or food or something stupid as it is required they have full bellies and no excuses not to leave.

Therefore, I am getting a private tour for Michael, and me and we have complete control over the tour. Michael is a translator. I do not want a translator, I want a person that will clarify my wishes to the taxi drivers, and help to clarify.

Translators impede learning as they ask questions I did not ask, interpret and explain what they do now know as to sound smart. Mike does this a little, about 20 percent, while the normal translator is about 90 percent inaccurate in their interpretations of the story.

This is the cultural kicker of guides and translators that I have grown accustom to and have accepted they must feel they are smart; they will fill in the blank to appear smart. The art then become in me asking good questions, and trying to get the translator to literally ask and say words they do not understand, or cannot see the implications.

Translators do not seem to translate what they do not understand.

The best translator here would be a person who speaks English very well and is the owner of a Chocolate processing factory. It would be a dream, and I hope the methods of National Geographic or Science or the BBC.

The truth is as I feel it; I see most camera operators and researchers filling in the gaps, the same as the translator. The return home and discover, they have forgotten information. (They write me and this is good, better than forging.)

I would say, there are three ways to pay for a tour.

1. All inclusive and pay a fortune and hope you see what you wish to see. This is will work for Hippos and normal tours, about an 80 percent chance of goal accomplishment.

2. Do the self-constructed tour. Note you must really have two to three guides and control the transportation, and have the option to change transportation. I have about a 90 percent chance, assuming there is Cacao there today. I can get the last with the number 3 below.

3. Get a person who is on the daily take and pay him or her to take you to look for three days for Cacao. This will work, is annoying slow, and you learn to hate the culture and the total irresponsible nature. However, normally the person that does this is also - Ineffective - and irresponsible and really do not see or know he or she is this way, they cannot empathize of compare themselves to effective people because they actually believe they are smart and effective.

100 percent chance on three if there is Cacao and an experience for sure, are you experienced?

Fun and Games in Togo…
I stay focused, I expect to say, Cacao about 50 times per hour today and keep that ringing in the ears of the taxi, guide, and Michael. I suppose you could also say,
- I will annoy my way through -
As well as,
- Dollar my way through. -
I hope to avoid the,
- Bully my way through method. -
And for sure, I want to avoid the,
- One-day tour taking three days through method. -

Any way you do it you pay, the luck is to accidentally take a tour, and not even be on a tour. If I happened upon the Cacao, it would be nicer and easier and I would have less temptation to club people on the head.

Note when a BBC crew, or CNN crew come in for one day, I highly doubt they can get the job done. There are many questions that take days to surmise, I am here in Cacao country, it has taken three weeks to get to the day, this is the extra time and patience I am willing to pay, plus, I am endlessly curious and can understand farming.

I believe some very good documentaries are made. I think some prime time explanations of news stories are manufactured and staged. If is it provocative, exciting and on prime time news, a big report, then maybe manufactured. If slow, monotonous and racked full of slow moments, then probably trying to be accurate. To explain all the periphery of the Cacao and the experience is a book writing detail collecting large task.

Everything I do today is very controlling, manipulative and pre-meditated to get my way for the good of all. I PAY.

If I for one second let down my guard, they will be the ones who manipulate me. The world is take or be taken. I give fair money, I do not take and not pay, as I see most people on the planet do not see getting paid for something included, but not given as a problem. He has more money than me is the song sang by the takers, nobody has a problem with stealing from Bill Gates.

The more they profess God, the more I know I will pay, I like just plain greed, easier to avoid the juicy rationalizations and get what I pay for, or to dollar my way to Cacao.

Time with enough time all is possible, and a good God provides us with Cacao to view and it is the proper time of the year. This is included in the price, they say it is there…

A person has to be generous, fair minded, and with a big stick, and the bull ape.

- Dorothy, you are not in Kansas anymore. -
- The Wizard of Oz. -

Dollar my way to Cacao





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