The cathedral church of Sefwi-Wiawso, set on the top of a hill in a remote part of western Ghana, looks out over miles of what was once forest. The land from here and across the border to nearby Ivory Coast is where the majority of the world's chocolate comes from. The chances are the chocolate in your Easter egg comes from somewhere nearby. But in order to produce more chocolate, vast areas of the forest have been hacked down and converted to cocoa production, with the result that much of the good soil is washed away when the rain comes.
There are echoes here of past miseries. For the European sweet tooth drove the slave trade in the 18th century, creating the demand for sugar that led to the capture and forced deportation of millions of Africans to work on the plantations of the new world. Huge seaside forts were built on the then Gold Coast to act as holding pens for slaves. And above these prisons, the Europeans built their churches and chapels. Given the way Christianity arrived on the west coast of Africa, it amazes me that it has flourished as it has.
Giles Fraser, vicar of Putney (from The Merciful Crucifixion, an article in The Guardian, Saturday 11 April 2009).