Plow to the End of the Row

Ocujal de Yaterita is an agricultural region south of Guantanamo populated by Government owned Banana and Chicken Plantations which employs many of the people living in those communities.

Residential community of Ocujal de Yateritra. The Yellow submarine/station wagon is how we made the trip there.

Residential community of Ocujal de Yateritra. The Yellow submarine/station wagon is how we made the trip there.

Being masters in agriculture, it is natural for most residents to turn the property they live on into what we in the US call “Hobby Farms”... but on a much smaller scale.   Compared to their brethren living in the cities, the people of Ocujal de Yaterita benefit from having a wider variety of healthy foods available to them because they can grow and raise small livestock. 

At the local church, we had the opportunity to meet with their Deaf community and afterwards had a chance to visit some of their homes.  Rosalia was one of them.  Along with his two brothers, who are also Deaf, they share a homestead and pretty much keep to themselves since they retired from working at the government plantations.

The 3 brothers live the only life they know… a very simple one with the most basic of needs. They live a bachelors life and are very comfortable with how they live. Rosalia and his brothers were introduced to Christ, but due to a unfortunate misunderstanding because of language difficulties during a church service, the two brothers left and never came back.  

Despite being exposed to no formal education, the 3 of them get by with a made up gestural language.   Imagine trying to share the Good News of Christ in a way that they can understand enough to grasp the salvation message? 

Rosalia stayed and thrived despite these language challenges.  He learned by example and has allowed the fruit of the spirit to be shown in how he treats others.  He is a very helpful and generous man that goes out of his way to treat others the way Christ taught.

One of the other deaf members of their church- Carlos, was on hand to help with the translation as he understood how to communicate in a very basic way that the Cuban Sign Language interpreters could not.   Watching Rosalia tell his story in his unique way was fascinating...

With this back story, it is amazing to see how responsive Rosalia is as a Christian living out his faith in the only way they can… through how he walks the walk and treats others.

...rocks in my shoes, dirt in my eyes, working like a dog ‘til the day I die...
— From the song, "Plow to the End of the Row"- Adrienne Young

Having retired from plantation work, the three brothers could not retire idly.  They have been blessed with genes that allows them to be extremely industrious and are very knowledgeable farmers.  Their property is full of Tomatoes, Onions and Peppers… and a few banana trees.

The term "plow to the end of the row" is a farm saying meaning to work very hard without giving up until the end.  This describes these brothers and their industrious work ethic well.

That work ethic results in regularly yielding a very good harvest compared to many other farmers and they make a pretty good income selling the fruits of their labor.   It is from this abundance that Rosalia’s generosity shines.  He regularly gives fruits and vegetables away to those in need.  Rosalia isn't the only generous one in the community... look what we were given as we headed back to Guantanamo!

These Yellow Bananas are organic and fresh from the tree... The best this monkey has tasted!

These Yellow Bananas are organic and fresh from the tree... The best this monkey has tasted!

The Green bananas are for Plantains

The Green bananas are for Plantains

Mike Ver Velde