There are humans that catapult into your world for a reason,
to extract those human instincts that were always inside you.
This human flipped my world upside down.
Or maybe he flipped it the right way up.
Our beliefs and values were pre-determined from the moment we were born; through our culture, community, and family. Somewhere along the way our culture was replaced by possessions. We came to define ourselves by our things that promised us happiness, individuality, and freedom.
This is the world I too believed in until I met Kim. He showed me the pivotal piece missing in this narrative. What about the people? What about the environment we co-inhabit?
The man that lived many lives
‘Go to him, he’ll share everything’
The words of the Managing Director at Pump Street Chocolate about Kim Russell, a self-made cocoa farmer and chocolate maker in Grenada; though it feels wrong defining him by labels. First and foremost he is world citizen, who has inhabited places most of us have never even thought to consider.
He sees the world before we were told how to see it.
He chose a life on the road instead of settling.
His brain and hands became his currency.
He never altered his persona to fit in.
Long story short, our worlds crossed when he found himself rehabilitating an abandoned Grenadian cocoa estate alongside his wife Lylette, culminating in Crayfish Bay’s first chocolate bar in 2016. They grew steadily from there, their foundations rooted in stark honesty and collaboration, everyone involved compensated their rightful share, building a micro-community on his doorstep. To this day they have never taken more than they needed. I’ve never seen anything like it.
His work at Crayfish may just be a drop in the ocean; a tiny chocolate factory on a tiny island. But in many ways, it has the potential to make waves. His story proves that chocolate can be the equalizer in an industry that capitalizes on imbalance.
‘If you want something to change, you’re better off doing it yourself. Don’t wait for the system to change, because it won’t’ - Kim Russell
A citizen mindset
I learnt from Kim that we are more than just the sum of our things. More than mere consumers and salesmen, we are citizens by nature. So what does it mean to be a citizen?
We were designed to look out for each other and the environment we co-inhabit, not only our self-interests. Though it derives no monetary value, it is perhaps the most significant part of our existence.
Sometimes it only takes a fellow human to snap you right back to human instinct.
Kim’s influence broke me out of a business-as-usual mindset. Instead of going big and scaling fast, I am more intentional with how I build this little chocolate company. Chocolate is a vessel to build community, to connect human stories that otherwise would have never have been shared, and to ensure land remains farmed fully faithful to nature.
Perhaps this is our wake-up call to reawaken our human instincts. To be more citizen in some small way and break apart from the self-interested structures in front of us. After all, it is the sum of these connections with which we should measure our true wealth by. Not material things.
With love, as always,