Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Georgia White Dirt Cookies:
Care for a Merlot with that dirt?

Guest post by DirtCheapShot

I went to a supermarket in Georgia to buy a bottle of water and walking past the fruits and vegetable section I saw something that caught my attention.

Next to the bananas and peaches were several bags of mud pies, not the dessert, DIRT COOKIES. I picked up a couple of bags.

I vividly recall that many years ago, I saw people snacking on bits of that same stuff in Haiti and enjoyed quite a few bites. So who is eating that stuff in the United States?

I asked a few people who were born and reared in Georgia and other southern states if they knew about that good ole Georgia Dirt. They've all told me that they've eaten their fair share and even sent shipments to their relatives living up north who cannot find it in local stores.

It appears that African-Americans, Euro-Americans and Indigenous Americans all partake in this good ole Southern tradition. So, with the power of narratives and a powerful media, that same dirt eating tradition in Haiti made the news only to be portrayed in a different light.

It is obvious that the women of the informal sector in Haiti could not package and sell their dirt cookies in stores and supermarkets for $1.99 plus tax. What is readily available in stores, gas stations shelves, supermarkets all over the Southern states was unknown to American reporters covering Haiti.

I am sure that mud pie story was well used for fundraisers around the world. While harvests around Haiti are not making it to Port-au-Prince and going to waste for lack of roads and transportation, mud pies was the headline given to the world.

The rice barons in Arkansas and Texas were probably reading that story after 18 holes of golf. I praise the entrepreneurial spirit of the women who are trying to make ends meet out of dirt.

I hope that one day their goods can be among the list of exports. Obviously there is a market for that stuff and the Haitian dirt tastes much better.

Un pays qui perd son artisanat perd son âme.
A country that loses its craft loses his soul.

Background: A microbe found in Haitian dirt can be developed into a powerful antibiotic.


thezenhaitian said...

DISCLAIMER: Eating dirt is not good for you. The condition is called Pica. It may be an indication of iron deficiency anemia or other mineral deficiency. In children, it can be dangerous. Also, it can involve the ingestion of animal feces, which contain parasites.

Nadege said...

LOL! Good looking out! Just know that the lamestream media has never EVER depicted Haiti in a positive light. In fact, I've been living in the US for 28 years, and not once did I see a positive or neutral depiction of Haiti.

So I was not surprised to see how the media took the mud cookie story and ran with it, but I was rather pissed off because I know my mother would always bring some with her every time she took a trip to Haiti, and she ate it, not because of hunger, but because she enjoyed eating it for some strange reason.

I hope enough people read this story. Again, good job, Chantal.

thezenhaitian said...

Thanks for your comment Nadege. For some reason I didn't get an email notification of your comment, so I didn't see it in my dashboard 'til today.

The issue of negative stereotypes about Haiti is one that has to be countered constantly. Just last night 60 minutes ran their "slavery" hit piece on Haiti again. Evidently, 60 minutes did not see the necessity for interviewing Haitian government officials about the policies in place to protect children as 60 minutes (once again) presented this issue of CHILD LABOR and POVERTY without context.

Nadege said...

Well, let the haters hate. It's our job to educate as many folks as we possibly can.

Look at it this way: If the US media doesn't tell that truth about America, we can't expect them to tell the truth about Haiti. :-)

I bet 60 minutes ignored the fact that, despite the constitutional ban on the Restavak practice, it still exists in Haiti due to the systematic dismantling of the economy by the "international community," which drives mothers to an utter state of desperation. Those mothers would rather have their children live with others than to see them starve.

Also, 60 minutes probably forgot to mention the foreign corporations that set up sweatshops in Haiti, while paying workers a few dollars per day. In other words, the corporations, too, fuel the Restavek fire. Or the so-called free trade agreements that screwed up Haiti's agriculture. Or the privatization of state infrastructure, which caused tens of thousands of people to lose their jobs. Or the years of unjust sanctions against Haiti.

Nevertheless, we're thankful for alternative media and blogs like yours.

We all can do our part to help in the painful struggle of our beloved Haiti.



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