Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
February 20th, 2009
Haiti's Poor Eat Dirt

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The small island nation relies heavily on imported food, but with prices soaring, some Haitians are filling their stomachs with dirt. Cookies made of clay, butter and salt are a traditional remedy for hunger, and are even considered to have health benefits — the clay contains minerals such as calcium. But it can also contain germs and toxins, and depending on these dirt cookies for sustenance can lead to malnutrition.

Worldfocus visited Haiti’s Cité Soleil, where the cookies are manufactured and consumed, and produced this video:

  • Gay

    If you really want to help and get assistance DIRECTLY to people in Haiti, please look at the following website for information about the incredible What If? Foundation. This small organization has almost no administrative overhead and instead utilizes a solid partnership with a community group in Haiti to deliver food to people each and every day. They support local farmers, too, as all the meals are prepared with local ingredients, so the help really does affect a wider circle beyond the children who get to eat. But for those kids? This program is a lifesaver. We can all do a little to help!

  • marianne

    I had heard about the mudcakes before, but seeing a photograph with the article really took it to the next level for me. If you are looking for a way to do something to help, you may want to check out the What If Foundation. It is a non-profit started by a woman from Wisconsin who visited Haiti and felt compelled to take action. She started fundraising among friends and family and now the program she started feeds 1500 children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti daily. You can find out more at She also wrote a book “On That Day Everybody Ate” about her experience in Haiti and how her life was changed forever by it. You can read about the book at It’s an amazing testament of how one person can make a difference and help ease the suffering by providing hope in the midst of such inconceivable suffering.

  • GothCeltGirl

    I would like to help. I will when I get some money. I can’t stand the idea of anyone, anywhere eating dirt.

  • Neil F Gianni

    Very enlightening – continue to spread your message. Looking forward to an update. For too long now have I had the urge to begin with my own blog. Guess if I wait any longer I’ll never ever take action. I’ll be sure to add you to my Blogroll. Many thanks!!

Produced by THIRTEEN    ©2014 WNET.ORG Properties LLC. All rights reserved.