Eating mud to survive

This kills me. Hungry Haitians are eating mud in an attempt to survive:

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.

Of course it’s probably not a good idea to have 5 kids if you can’t support them, of course it’s probably not a good idea to have a baby when 16 and single, of course there are larger things going on in the economy and government of Haiti that lead to some having much and most having nothing.


It ought to offend every sensibility all of us have that in 2008 people are reduced to eating mud in a attempt to survive. It’s not right. And if we can, we ought to help.

Here’s a few ways we can:

I recommend the last one, Meds and Food for Kids, for a couple of reasons:

  • they target kids
  • they have a simple nutritional supplement that doesn’t require special care, handling, or cooking
  • they manufacture what they need in Haiti, benefiting the local economy
  • they work with local Haitians to supply the services, rather than maintaining a big staff of ex-pats in-country
  • they have a great success rate
  • they’re easy to donate to via JustGive


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