Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Poor Haitians Resort to Eating Dirt

This story is so soul-crushing to me that I cannot even muster up one of my politically incorrect quips.

Peep the article,

  • 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 Carribean, where island nations depend on imports and food prices are up 40 percent in places.

I have nothing else to add to this. This is just a comprehensive failure of humanity in every imaginable way.


  1. That's what everything boils down to isn't it. We forgot how hungry people can get. Meanwhile the union is strong...even thought the fed keeps cutting rates and they want to give us some money to spend just to get things moving.

  2. Puts the shit with the day grind in perspective huh. Sad, just sad.

  3. I cant even muster up anything to say about this. It is just disheartening.

  4. Lets put some political perspective on this. The US has played a major hand in the creating the crushing poverty that exists in Haiti, but is obviously not willing to play any hand at all in remedying the situation. So much for personal responsibility.

    Capitalism, my firends, is the system that gives birth to this kind of poverty in the modern era. At least if there were a socialist economy, people would not be hungry. Maybe they wouldnt have a TV, or wouldnt have a superbowl, but as imperfect a system as Cuba has, no one is eating dirt there.

  5. ^ I generally agree, but people still starve in a command economy and poverty has been around long before the market system. This is almost exempt from economic analysis in the sense that Haiti was never given a chance to build their own infrastructure enough to sustain themselves (read: no money in it for US investors). Thats the only way capitalism can be blamed here. Corporations don't see the payoff in investing in Haiti, so people have to eat fucking dirt. Failure of humanity indeed.