The Mud Cookie

On one of my trips to Haiti a few years back, I encountered a symbol of poverty that left me both deeply saddened and determined to try and make a difference. It was a mud cookie. I was visiting the hospital birthed by Dr. Paul Farmer Zanmi Lasante  – Partners in Health. Zanmi Lasante is a living testimony to the will of a remarkable man and his unwillingness to let a dream of a first rate hospital for the poor die. As most of you know, Paul Farmer has spent his life serving people living in the mountains of rural Haiti. To say that God has blessed his work may be among the greater understatements of my life.

While visiting this hospital, which every day reveals and paints quite a scene of the tired hurting masses of  humanity I encountered all of the street vendors selling their many different wares along the main road. Nothing can really quite prepare you for seeing the ‘mud cookie” vendors, who sell mud cookies to those too poor to put food on their tables.  That’s right, the people who are poor substitute mud for food, because at least it puts something in the belly and satisfies the hunger a bit. The ingredients are mud, butter and salt and I guess this gives the mud cookies some hint of flavor. I decided not to try it out myself.

Try to imagine a family sitting around the dinner table and having mud cookies for dinner.  Just what does a father say to his children when serving up such a meal? It is a picture I cannot imagine, but it is sadly both real and true. Haitians are reduced to eating mud cookies. It is not fair, tell me it isn’t so! But it is so.

Go to bed tonight thankful for the food on your table. When your beautiful children gather around the table, give thanks that you have something healthy to give them, and be sure to give them a hug tonight when you tuck them in. Say a prayer with them, and then pray for the myriad of Haitian children who have gone to bed hungry, or if filled, perhaps by virtue of eating a mud cookie.

The Rev. Canon James E. Byrum

4 Responses to “The Mud Cookie”

  1. Cindy Gamso May 24, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    Father,
    I feel your sadness. I have witnessed the poverty in Ghana that you speak of in Haiti. We are truly blessed to be born in America. Every year that I return home to my comfortable life after a trip to Ghana, I always ask the Lord to not let me forget the poor, the sick , and the orphans that He put in my path while in Africa. Thank you for the mighty work you and all the people of iF do to help lift people out of poverty. May God continue to bless you and your family. I really enjoy reading your posts.

    God Bless,
    Cindy Gamso

    • fatherB June 2, 2011 at 9:37 am #

      Cindy, Thank you so much for your thoughtful and sensitive spirit! Ghana has poverty as well, but generallt speaking Haiti is so much worse off than Ghana. Both countries have so much that is heart breaking. Thanks for what you do in Ghana and for what you do to inspire us all!

      Fr. Byrum

  2. Avari July 3, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    None can doubt the veracity of this airltce.

    • fatherB July 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

      Dear Avari,

      Thanks for taking the time to respond to my blog, as we celebrated the 4th of July I am reminded of our many blessings. Blessings to you and thanks again for your interest in Haiti!

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