Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mass Production of Mud Cookies. Really.

Maybe you've heard of mud cookies before. If you have, you probably try not to think about it. We have a couple sitting on top the piano in our living room. They are a reality check. They are a perspective check.

Here's the reality: people are so hungry in Haiti they will resort to eating mud cookies to fill their stomachs. In Cite Soleil, John came upon a place where, as you can see in the pictures above, they mass produce mud cookies. The woman who makes them say that the dirt comes from Hinche, a town of 50,000 in central Haiti. We haven't been able to discover why the dirt from Hinche is special. The woman making the cookies said that pregnant women eat the mud cookies.
It is really difficult to think about people eating mud cookies. Sometimes when we've shown people in the United States our mud cookies, we get blank faces in response, as if they can't or don't want to acknowledge the reality of what the mud cookie means. It does put one's own problems into perspective. To some, it may seem cruelly unnecessary to show people the mud cookies when it doesn't seem as if there is anything they can directly do about the conditions that cause people to eat mud cookies. But you never know when an experience like this will change a person's life. And at the least, as Dr. Albert Schweitzer says, the encounter may encourage people to "Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight."

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