Though chocolate is used to keep women happy in the states, Bri Bri use Cacao (or Cocoa) in a different kind of healing process: spiritual and purification ceremonies. They never mix it with sugar. Instead, a Shaman mixes it with with other natural ingredients and boiling water and pours it over a woman's big toe to rid her of her impurities after a pregnancy or menstrual cycle. A Bri Bri woman gives birth alone on a mountain inside a small hut she puts together with leaves because no one can be around her during the "impure" process and some time after. Here, Dorcus' younger sister is giving us a demonstration of the tradition which has been past on through generations for over 300 years.
The Cacao Plants, native to the tropical region of the Americas, require a humid climate with regular rainfall. Partu Nona, Dorcus' mother, showed us a tree bearing cacao pods in all 4 stages - she cracked open a ripened fruit and let us abstract the seeds, which were smothered in a delicious, white, milky pulp. We sucked the sweet nature right off those seeds & it was like nothing we've ever tasted. The only thing better than chocolate is chocolate in its rawest form.