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Starved- Eat Dogs or Mud? – HAITIANS FORCED TO EAT MUD COOKIES OR STARVE

January 30, 2008 by Don Of Dons  
Filed under .Voice of The Hood, Daily Wrap Up


haiti
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — It was lunchtime in one of Haiti’s worst slums, and Charlene Dumas was eating mud. With food prices rising, Haiti’s poorest can’t afford even a daily plate of rice, and some take desperate measures to fill their bellies. Charlene, 16 with a 1-month-old son, has come to rely on a traditional Haitian remedy for hunger pangs: cookies made of dried yellow dirt from the country’s central plateau.

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — It was lunchtime in one of Haiti’s worst slums, and Charlene Dumas was eating mud. With food prices rising, Haiti’s poorest can’t afford even a daily plate of rice, and some take desperate measures to fill their bellies. Charlene, 16 with a 1-month-old son, has come to rely on a traditional Haitian remedy for hunger pangs: cookies made of dried yellow dirt from the country’s central plateau.
The mud has long been prized by pregnant women and children here as an antacid and source of calcium. But in places like Cite Soleil, the oceanside slum where Charlene shares a two-room house with her baby, five siblings and two unemployed parents, cookies made of dirt, salt and vegetable shortening have become a regular meal.

“When my mother does not cook anything, I have to eat them three times a day,” Charlene said. Her baby, named Woodson, lay still across her lap, looking even thinner than the slim 6 pounds 3 ounces he weighed at birth.

Though she likes their buttery, salty taste, Charlene said the cookies also give her stomach pains. “When I nurse, the baby sometimes seems colicky too,” she said.

Food prices around the world have spiked because of higher oil prices, needed for fertilizer, irrigation and transportation. Prices for basic ingredients such as corn and wheat are also up sharply, and the increasing global demand for biofuels is pressuring food markets as well.

The problem is particularly dire in the Caribbean, where island nations depend on imports and food prices are up 40 percent in places.

The global price hikes, together with floods and crop damage from the 2007 hurricane season, prompted the U.N. Food and Agriculture Agency to declare states of emergency in Haiti and several other Caribbean countries. Caribbean leaders held an emergency summit in December to discuss cutting food taxes and creating large regional farms to reduce dependence on imports.

At the market in the La Saline slum, two cups of rice now sell for 60 cents, up 10 cents from December and 50 percent from a year ago. Beans, condensed milk and fruit have gone up at a similar rate, and even the price of the edible clay has risen over the past year by almost $1.50. Dirt to make 100 cookies now costs $5, the cookie makers say.

Still, at about 5 cents apiece, the cookies are a bargain compared to food staples. About 80 percent of people in Haiti live on less than $2 a day and a tiny elite controls the economy.

Merchants truck the dirt from the central town of Hinche to the La Saline market, a maze of tables of vegetables and meat swarming with flies. Women buy the dirt, then process it into mud cookies in places such as Fort Dimanche, a nearby shanty town.

Carrying buckets of dirt and water up ladders to the roof of the former prison for which the slum is named, they strain out rocks and clumps on a sheet, and stir in shortening and salt. Then they pat the mixture into mud cookies and leave them to dry under the scorching sun.

The finished cookies are carried in buckets to markets or sold on the streets.

A reporter sampling a cookie found that it had a smooth consistency and sucked all the moisture out of the mouth as soon as it touched the tongue. For hours, an unpleasant taste of dirt lingered.

Assessments of the health effects are mixed. Dirt can contain deadly parasites or toxins, but can also strengthen the immunity of fetuses in the womb to certain diseases, said Gerald N. Callahan, an immunology professor at Colorado State University who has studied geophagy, the scientific name for dirt-eating.

Haitian doctors say depending on the cookies for sustenance risks malnutrition.

“Trust me, if I see someone eating those cookies, I will discourage it,” said Dr. Gabriel Thimothee, executive director of Haiti’s health ministry.

Marie Noel, 40, sells the cookies in a market to provide for her seven children. Her family also eats them.

“I’m hoping one day I’ll have enough food to eat, so I can stop eating these,” she said. “I know it’s not good for me.”

By JONATHAN M. KATZ ; Associated Press Writer http://www.thenewstribune.com/Tacoma/24hour/front/story/268135.html

 

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20 Comments on "Starved- Eat Dogs or Mud? – HAITIANS FORCED TO EAT MUD COOKIES OR STARVE"

  1. KING-NY on Wed, 30th Jan 2008 11:57 am 

    Damn thats Sad & Really F**cked up! Thats why i say i Have NO faith in this Goverment! These muthaf**kaz spending millions per day on this fake war and these people gotta eat dirt cakes! WTF!!!! I guess i cant be surprised when our own Black people in America who are American citizens couldn’t even get Water for 3 days in there own country!

  2. napps126 on Wed, 30th Jan 2008 12:36 pm 

    im at a lost of words yo…stuff like this is ridiculous…..

  3. miss E. on Wed, 30th Jan 2008 1:13 pm 

    where is everyone. who is suppose to help these people. Idon’t know what to stay.

  4. kory from ohio on Wed, 30th Jan 2008 1:31 pm 

    Open your refridgerator and be thankful. be thankful for what Allah has done for you. Theres no way I can watch floyd and zab throw money in the club for fun and read that slums in Haiti process and cook mud sandwiches. thats totally fucked up yo.

  5. John j Gulayets on Wed, 30th Jan 2008 4:38 pm 

    this fukin hurts my heart man

  6. time on Wed, 30th Jan 2008 6:52 pm 

    The post under this is about a chain with an iced-out Frosties carton.

  7. Treasure!!!! on Wed, 30th Jan 2008 10:50 pm 

    fuck the haitian government dont nobody deserve dat shit! fuck em. God help ur people! they need u!

  8. stephanie you better recognize on Thu, 31st Jan 2008 8:51 am 

    i’m a hatian i was born in haiti.. i came here when i was 8… but what if that was me? who would help.. this is fu&k up and who ever post that and didn’t help her is the one that’s wrong becauser they was there…. but i guess that’s life

  9. King K on Thu, 31st Jan 2008 2:40 pm 

    Damn son, mud cookies…all this money in America and people have to eat mud cookies? I am disgusted with society as a whole…no one should have to live like that…Haiti is one of the first Caribbean island’s to fight for freedom and the abolishment of slavery and win their independence. They deserve better… shame

  10. BLENDZO on Thu, 31st Jan 2008 4:52 pm 

    Where Wylcef?

  11. yasin on Thu, 31st Jan 2008 8:27 pm 

    Im haitian and to hear this is very depressing.

    I was just thinking today how my life aint shit and I cant find a job and all that while my people eat dirt reading that has gave me a new meaning on life

  12. KnockB on Sat, 2nd Feb 2008 8:28 pm 

    Its the fucking USA’s fault man !!! I’m being real when i say your fucking goverment is behind 60 % of the poverty in the world !! Fuck the white snakes ! You ignorant stupid no heart fucking americans ! Fuck your country ! And I hope the americans stand up and say fuck our country too !!! Yall need socialism ! But you dumb fucks probobly dont even now what that is

  13. KnockB on Sat, 2nd Feb 2008 8:30 pm 

    I HATE IGNORANT PEOPLE MAN ! PEOPLE HWO DONT KNOW WHATS GOING ON AROUND THEM !

  14. tin tin cruz on Thu, 7th Feb 2008 10:12 pm 

    dammit……..how can they stand to eat those mud…….we know that it is bad for there health and also the children’s that eating this can kill them…muds have many parasites and God did not design it to eat….i pity those childrens force to eat this mud just to survive….i hope this problem will solve as soon as possible………

  15. BUCK on Thu, 21st Feb 2008 3:43 pm 

    I’m Haitian n live in Haiti. I study medecine there n frankly, every time I
    think I’m wastin my time n I should be tryn to get a deal with Dre, I think of these people… Most of us do it for the money but these people need help. It’s not the government fault’s either… well it is a lil, but it’s more than that. We’ve been independent for more than 200 years now n ain’t a damn thang changed. The problem is educational, financial n everything else that ends by “al”. As optimistic as optimus n I still say it’s too late for the country… Only thing left to do is try to make it better
    for 1, 2, 3 persons until u drop… Be the smile that knocks out the frown…

  16. Angeline dont worry bout da last name on Fri, 28th Mar 2008 3:20 pm 

    Fukk no i think dis bitch is lyin yall just tryna make haitianz look bad but no yall need to stop cuz haiti is way betta den dis shit so juss chill iight i bet this is Africa or sumthin but no no damn HAITI

  17. Me on Fri, 16th May 2008 12:21 am 

    “Fukk no i think dis bitch is lyin yall just tryna make haitianz look bad but no yall need to stop cuz haiti is way betta den dis shit so juss chill iight i bet this is Africa or sumthin but no no damn HAITI”
    What the fuck are you talkign about your fuckring retard. This is 100% true, crawl out from under your rock and look at the world around you. This isn’t to make Haitians look bad, it’s to show how bad their situation is and how desperatley they need help.

  18. george on Tue, 17th Mar 2009 7:57 pm 

    hatians deserve that for choose the goverment . and I feel sorry for those greedy hatians those who live in the us and dont help their people back home .

  19. Amy on Wed, 20th Jan 2010 4:59 pm 

    I feel so sorry for the haitians. If I could, I would go to Haiti and help them survive from the horrible earthquake. They should eat something other than mud. There has to be something that won’t be as bad.

  20. num num on Thu, 21st Jan 2010 11:08 am 

    Its sad how yall talking about some fuck the haitians, they just got through going through a damn earthquake the whole damn country got fucking distroyed yall should be a fucking shamed of yall damn selfs… in stead of bashing them try helping them you tired fucks!!!!!!!

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