#WeDontEatTrees—Does this hashtag look familiar? In the last couple of day, users on Twitter and Instagram has been spreading this tag in response to a pretty weird (and honestly offensive) statement made by meteorologist Jennifer Delgado regarding the state of deforestation in Haiti:
Needless to say, the internet immediately lost it. Many people, both Haitian and not, demanded an immediate apology. One of the best responses to the tree-eating claims came from the comedy group Haitian American Productions, who posted the following video on their Facebook page with the following caption:"So Haitians Eat Trees Right ??? 🇭🇹 🇭🇹 😌 ... Here's An Educational Video To Show How 🙃"
Haiti isn't the most financially stable island in the Caribbean, especially after the earthquake and Hurricane Matthew, but we are far from having to result to eating trees to survive. As a proud Haitian, let me take this opportunity to make my contribution to the #WeDontEatTrees movement by sharing a couple of my favorite non-tree Haitian Dishes:
1. Diri Djon Djon (Black Rice)
This dish is basically rice cooked with tons of yummy spices and a delicious black mushroom that gives the dish it's characteristic black coloring.
This dish consists of well-seasoned pieces of fried pork and is often served with a side of fried plantain and some pickled vegetables to top it off.
3. Russian Salad (Salad Russ)
The Haitian Russian salad is a staple for Sunday dinner. It's a mixture of beets, potatoes, carrots, mayo, and any desired spices.
4. Poisson Gros Sel (Salt Fish)
This last dish is probably one of the hardest to prepare at home, as the fish has to be thoroughly cleaned and infused with lots and lots of spices before being cooked and devoured.
Growing up in Haiti, I've always been aware of the bad rep we get from the foreign countries for being "the poorest country" on this side of the planet. And that image hasn't changed much since the earthquake and now the Hurricane that's been reported to have killed around 800 Haitian people.
It only adds insult to injury that we've now been accused of one of the weirdest things ever—eating trees—during a news segment covering such a serious and devastating storm. Don't get me wrong, Haiti has some problems, but deforestation as a result of the Haitian people eating trees is definitely not one of them.