Extremely Poor, the Village Inhabitants Consume Food Made from Earth

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  • Wednesday, 08 November 2023 19:55
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  • Unique Food

The life in Sapaterre Village is a poignant portrait that should serve as a reflection for us to always be grateful for the lives we lead. Located far away in the Republic of Haiti, there is a poverty-stricken settlement called Sapaterre Village. In this village, you can find waterfalls, a small bay, and caves. This area is also popular among tourists. However, it's not what grabs the attention of many, but rather a unique food made from earth that the local residents consume, known as 'Bon Bon Te' or mud cakes.

Sapaterre Village is situated in the mountains, about 20 miles from the larger city of Hinche, in the Central Plateau region of Haiti. As an extremely impoverished area, the idea of enjoying delicious food is a dream for most of the people here. However, due to the economic limitations they face, they can only consume earth-based food to quell their hunger. Over time, 'Bon Bon Te' has become very popular in the area. Given the soaring prices of basic necessities and high levels of poverty, many people in the impoverished settlements of Haiti rely on consuming these mud cakes for sustenance. In fact, when they cannot afford rice, they are forced to consume 'Bon Bon Te' three times a day.

'Bon Bon Te' is made purely from raw materials consisting of clay and mud. To enhance the flavor, a little salt is added during the cake-making process. The mud dough is then shaped into biscuit-like slabs. These mud slabs are made and arranged in rows in an open area outside the house. Subsequently, 'Bon Bon Te' is dried under the scorching sun until it hardens. After complete drying, these cakes are ready to be eaten to alleviate the pangs of hunger.

Not only does 'Bon Bon Te' serve to fill their stomachs, but it also at least contributes to their livelihood. The dried biscuit dough is collected in baskets and peddled in traditional markets or on the roadside. The production of mud cakes has become the primary industry in Sapaterre Village. While strolling through the traditional market, you can see several locals vending pieces of mud cake. This is a common sight in the corners of the market. 'Bon Bon Te' is sold for around Rp150 per piece. From children to adults, everyone appears enthusiastic about consuming these mud cakes.

Residents of the slums in Haiti consume 'Bon Bon Te' nearly every day, but that doesn't mean the taste of these biscuits is very appetizing. According to locals, it tastes similar to the scent of petrichor or the earthy smell after rain, with a slight saltiness. Moreover, when you eat it, the biscuit pieces turn into mud as they absorb all the saliva in your mouth.

Haitian people believe that 'Bon Bon Te' contains calcium that can be used as an antacid and nutrition, but this is contradicted by doctors who warn of the risks it poses, such as dental damage, constipation, and many worse outcomes.

In addition to living in extreme poverty, the conditions of Sapaterre Village are exacerbated by the lack of healthcare facilities. The village residents face difficulties in accessing medical services. Recognizing this, several humanitarian organizations have provided assistance to Sapaterre Village. From food supplies to free medical facilities, aid has been extended to the village multiple times.

Seeing the difficult life of Haitian people, especially in Sapaterre Village, we should be grateful and not waste food, as there are still many less fortunate individuals out there who cannot even afford a decent meal

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