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An unlovely smell

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Broken HeartOn Valentine’s Day I got a red rose from Alberto, our shopping center’s resident hairdresser. He had installed himself in his doorway and was giving out flowers and kisses to various woman as they passed by – me included. Then my travel agent had their messenger deliver a couple of roses which charmed me because I certainly don’t rate as a frequent flyer. But this year I didn’t get any chocolates which is just as well because I’m protecting the few teeth I have left in my mouth.

Anyway why I mention this is because I’ve just read a rather interesting article, which has this as its introduction:

I received a Valentine’s Day message this week – from the US. Only it did not contain expressions of love and devotion; it was a wake-up call to everyone who gave or received the traditional gifts of flowers or chocolate or perhaps a diamond or two. The message came from the Washington-based International Labour Rights Fund (ILRF) and comprised the fund’s special Valentine’s Day report on the conditions of the flower growers in Colombia and Ecuador. ILRF project director Nora Ferm gave some of the unlovely details concerning cocoa production in Ivory Coast and provided facts about how diamonds had been used to fuel conflict in Africa.

The article also mentions the poor conditions of workers in the horticultural sector in Kenya and Zimbabwe.

And it got me thinking about how little attention we generally pay to where our food comes from, where our rubbish goes and how our tax dollars get spent.

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