Chocolate University
High School Tanzania Origin Trip, 2018

Answered by Askinosie Chocolate and members of the Chocolate University Class of 2016

Greene or Christian county juniors and seniors attending public, private or homeschool. Applying students should be interested in exploring international cultures and business and should be able to share their plan to apply their learnings in their future. Experienced and first time travelers welcomed. – Askinosie Chocolate

The group of travelers includes Shawn Askinosie and 2–3 adult members of the Askinosie Team and Chocolate University Advisory Council, a faculty representative from Drury University for a total of 5–6 adults. A Drury student, usually from the business school, will accompany the group of 12–14 student travelers. – Askinosie Chocolate

The selection committee of 5–6 adults includes High School teachers, a representative from Drury and from Askinosie Chocolate. The team asks a few questions based on your application and essay. The group is friendly and the questions make it easy to share your ideas about how you will use the experience in your future plans. – Askinosie Chocolate

Let me start off with the worst food. On the way back to the airport we stopped by a market and some of us bought some sort of tiny fried, dried fish snack. If you do try those, I highly recommend that you have water with you to wash down the fishy taste. As for the best food… all of our meals were so good. We had these crepe like pancakes for breakfast that were really good. Lots of stewed meats and vegetables with amazing rice. One evening we had a celebration dinner with the farmers on the beach where we had roasted goat. The taste was rich and hearty. – Alec H., CU 2016

Meals are provided for the whole group by a caterer hired specifically for our trip and the resort where we stay. Plenty of water is provided for each person and strongly encouraged. How to eat safely while traveling and in country is a topic covered while students are on campus at Drury. – Askinosie Chocolate

It was my first time flying so it was quite an experience. We had a lot of setbacks like storms, delays, and long layovers which caused flight schedules to be changed but in the end we got there. I liked flying and am glad I got to finally experience it! It was a long journey getting there but I enjoyed it. – Tim, CU 2016

Yes! I can’t speak for the trips before 2016, but our class got along extremely well. Drury week was really helpful because we got to know each other before we embarked on a trip across the world. We really balanced each other out, and it was a nice to have people to talk to and relate to on a trip as life-changing as this one. We still get together and keep in touch! – Emma B., CU 2016

The culture in Tanzania was hands down one of my favorite parts about the trip. If I had to describe it in just a few words it would be love, generosity and optimism. The farmers had been nothing but welcoming to us near strangers and included and loved us as if we were family. While some had nearly nothing they continued to give and showed us the warmest hospitality. I loved every moment of my time there and was inspired by the energy and the hope there was while living even the most minimalist life. – Leila I., CU 2016

The group stayed in Matema, a neighboring village to Mababu. At the lakeside resort in the village, students stay in groups of two separated by gender. Rooms are equipped with plumbing – sink, toilet, shower. Electricity is available but does not accommodate heating elements (hair dryers, flat irons). Laundry service is available at the resort for a small fee. Morning and evening meals are enjoyed together in a common dining area on hotel property. Accommodations can vary based on the trip agenda and timing. – Askinosie Chocolate

So as I sit here writing my response, it was exactly a year ago that the class of 2016 were all in Tanzania. I actually spent this morning looking through old photos and thinking I would do anything to go back. The trip actually motivated me so much that I am hoping to have a career that would give me the opportunity to visit Tanzania again. What makes me sad though is that even if I ever did have the opportunity to go back again it would never include all the other wonderful members of the Chocolate University class who made the trip even that much better. – Leila I., CU 2016

The trip is not a mission trip. While in Tanzania, the group will visit with Askinosie’s farming partners and conduct business. The students are able to observe the business meetings and negotiations. Working with the farmers and Askinosie’s in-country field representative, the CU class will plan and complete a community service project to support the village during the visit. – Askinosie Chocolate

Unfortunately, no. This was one of the main questions that friends and family asked me when I returned to the States. We did see plenty of chickens and pigs in the village, though. Our interpreter, Allan, was super excited to show us the pigs, thinking that we’d never seen pigs before. That was pretty hilarious. – Emma B., CU 2016

In Tanzania, most people speak Swahili. During Drury week and in downtime in airports, we tried our best at least to learn some greetings and phrases so that we could directly communicate with the farmers. Our interpreters made it really easy to connect with the local people, so that definitely helped with the language barrier. The farmers laughed at our attempts to speak their language, but I think they at least appreciated that we tried. – Emma B., CU 2016

The trip is 10 days. About five nights plus travel time of about 2 days each way, but I wish it could be longer! – Tim, CU 2016

The 2018 trip cost is $4000 per traveler. – Askinosie Chocolate

YES! We had the opportunity to meet Mama Mpoki, who is featured on the 72% Dark Chocolate Bar. She was captivating and probably the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in my life. I froze up a bit every time I saw her, starstruck. She is the leader of the farmer group in Mababu and had definitely earned the respect of all of her fellow farmers. – Emma B., CU 2016

Yes. Always consult with your physician and research what the CDC recommends for travel to where you are going (and consider countries that you are flying through). – Alec H, CU 2016

CDC recommendations are available online and regularly updated. Greene County Health Department can administer vaccines for a fee. Scholarship students can request help with vaccination expenses. – Askinosie Chocolate

Funding is for scholarship students is secured by Askinosie Chocolate through a mix of private donations and grants. We aim for a 50/50 mix of scholarship and individual-pay students in each CU class. – Askinosie Chocolate

We didn’t make any chocolate in Tanzania, but we did have a chocolate tasting with the farmers. Some of them had never tasted chocolate before, which was crazy because they had been growing cocoa pods their whole lives. The farmers were so proud of the Askinosie bar made from their cocoa beans, and they all decided that it definitely tasted the best among the bars from the three cocoa origins they sampled. – Emma B., CU 2016