Bitter Chocolate - by Sally Grindley
The Children of Yr6 have been studying 'Bitter Chocolate' by Sally Grindley. They are also learning about the plight of children who are forced to work in the developing world.
English- Bitter Chocolate Diary by Yr 6 Pupils
It was a cold and dark night when I was asleep. The other boys and I had to sleep on hard, uncomfortable pallets. Even though we had toiled and worked hard all day, it was too hard to sleep due to our beds being so terrible. All night, I keep waking up frequently because I am in an uncomfortable position on the wood. I hope the plantation owner gives us better sleeping arrangements soon, because I'm starting to doze off in the middle of day while I am working. This is especially bad as the plantation owner has said he will hit me with his whip. My back hurts from the harsh whips marks, given earlier today.
I really regret dozing off today. I no longer can sleep on my back for the rest of the duration my back pains are there. This outhouse really stinks, too. Perhaps, instead of writing in this diary, I’d better get some sleep. Tomorrow, it’s going to be a long, hard day again.
I am secretly writing in this diary to pass some time and keep my sanity. I accidently dozed off again, today but luckily, I heard the plantation owner yell at me, and woke up before he realised what had happened. As soon as I saw the whip in his hand, I immediately ran with no second thoughts. I did not want to be whipped again. The other boys gasped in shock when they saw me run. I guess they think I'm brave or something. Right now, I am hiding in a bush. It isn’t going to be long before they find me. Better start working on finding a new hiding spot. If either the plantation owner or his dog finds me, I'm a dead boy. Well not really, but I'll be put through a lot of pain.
Well, they found me. Luckily, they didn’t take away my diary. Some more good news is that all they did was threaten me. The plantation owner said to me,
“If you ever dare try runnin’ away from me again, I’ll gonna’ let my little buddy eat you alive. But for now, I’ll keep you in a cage when you sleep...’’
If you ask me, I'm probably the luckiest boy alive.
Just as I was about to sleep tonight, two of the boys with me here started talking in the middle of the night. I expected this as none of us got any good-quality sleep. I didn’t want to let them know I was listening, so I pretended to be asleep. They started talking about killing somebody and escaping this place. I don’t know how long they had been here as I had only just arrived, but I think that they have been here for a long, long time. When they started talking about seeing their families again it took me right back to when I was taken away from my parents too. I remember when I was sold through some sort of black market. All I remember from there is being knocked out. I just want to sleep.
Extract from Mrs Camara's Diary - written by Yr 6 pupils:
Today I woke up feeling worried about the gunfire that was happening last night and the protection of my kids. I was worried about my children who might have heard the noise. In the morning once I was up, Pascal was asking a lot of questions about last night to me.
I interrupted him and told him that there is nothing to worry about. Once I had finished washing our clothing, I went to Mr Bon’s shop and heard the radio reports about the fight getting closer. On the way home we saw Olivier running across the road coming towards us, I thought to myself
I hope he doesn’t talk about the noises in the night.
When he came over us he asked,
Did you hear the explosions last night? They sounded very close! “. Olivier’s dad sleeps at the door with a knife and axe. When we were finally home, I was so relieved that my husband was back. Now I will feel safe when I’m at here and the kids will feel safe too. Hopefully ,tomorrow will be a better day now that my husband is home.
2nd of March 1999
Last night, I could hear the noise of gunfire and that’s when Pascal started asking questions. When he asked about the noises, I tried to distract him. I shrugged my shoulders and told him,
“There are all sorts of strange noises in the night, I don’t know which ones you mean.” I could tell that he knew something when he gave me that look. I just want to keep him safe but I don’t look forwards to the day he finds out about it!
This morning, we went to the village shop to get some supplies but then the radio crackled the news that people were being attacked in another village. When I heard the news my heart dropped
Soon they will get to are village how are we going to stay safe? I thought to myself. After that, Olivier arrived and started shouting to Pascal about the explosions last night. , “They sounded really close!” It wasn’t helpful and I was very stressed that he had said that because I don’t want Pascal to find out.
Yesterday, I overheard Pascals cousins scaring him about the fighting I just wish that his father get back from work to help us.
When we got back from the shop, we were all shocked to see Dad standing at the front of the house. Pascal ran and hugged him.
After dinner, when Pascal had gone to bed, I asked my husband about why he had come home so early. He told me,
“It is getting to dangerous so I had to come home and stay here for a little while and I also brought you this.” He held out a large piece of wood “It’s for the windows and doors. It’s so we can block them up”.
I was happy that he was back home but I was still worried about how he is going to keep us safe!
Looking over at Pascal, seeing the worry on his face, I felt helpless knowing there was nothing I could do. He was constantly up all night and asking a plethora of questions about the noises of gun fire and rat-a-tatat. There's nothing, we could do to stop him from hearing the gossip at School or on the radio. I really want to reassure him as I want to make him feel better with all this dreadful noise happening all around us. Especially, now it's just me looking after the kids by myself, I know Pascal would prefer his father to be here to protect us. Unfortunately, my husband works away from home a lot.
I had to smile at Pascal as he looked over at me. He’s so young to have to deal with all this. I don’t like it when Pascal talks to his cousin Oliver and Kamil about it, Oliver seems to scare him more.
My daughter, Angeline, is so good at trying to keep him calm about the situation. I liked it when he was talking to his sister: I feel she helps.
I see the relief on pascals face whenever his dad returns home and it makes me feel a weight has been lifted. I feel relaxed knowing Pascal happier. When we are all together is when I feel the happiest. Seeing Pascal listen to stories about his father's work which is what a young lad should be listening to not about dangers around him.
The children of Yr 6 have been working hard to polish their descriptive powers. We are working to produce a short story, inspired by the Flannan Lighthouse Mystery of 1900.
We have produced a Story Moutain, Character descriptions and in this exercise, the children have built up sentences to give depth to their story, engage the reader and suggest something of the power of this strange, lonely structure...
Click here for more information.