Kyrie Pody and Brandon Olin with the Cumberland University Team, share their packed day full of hard work and obedience in serving God. 

Catch up on Cumberland’s days 2 &3 here.

By Kyrie Pody

Monday started out earlier than expected! After two alarms and a list of reasons, I pulled myself out of bed excited to venture out into the great unknown. Sleepiness was lingering but the joy of the day helped me get ready. We were told that we were going to plant some Plantain trees but I was unsure of what all that entailed.

After a quick bite of breakfast, we snatched our gloves and water bottles and headed out to the field. I was handed a large tool that I was extremely curious about what should be done with it. Thankfully, we all quickly became expert diggers! We went to work while in my mind I was singing “whistle while we work”, the tune the Dwarves sing in Snow White. We swung our pick axes, shovels and weird knife looking things and went to town. (Figuratively speaking).

Digging plantain shoots to transplant

First we had to dig the shoots that we would soon be transplanting. Tree after tree we dug up the bases and carried them to the front of the field. In some way it felt like dismantling furniture. In other ways I felt like Chip and Joanna Gaines tearing up a house. It was pretty exhilarating.

We carried all of our things up to the three wheeler and hopped on top. All of things we have done up until today seem unsafe when compared to the rules of the road in the States. But man oh man, it is freeing. After riding about five minutes down the road, we arrived at the house and carried our trees, tools and mulch down the path to the home.

I was ready to do some damage but after a few swings, one of the Haitian women walked up and took the tool out of my hand and within seconds dug up five times what I had. It was like how I picture “CrossFit Haitian edition”. Needless to say, I was schooled in digging holes. So I went back to it, digging again, attempting to do half the digging the woman did and didn’t even come close. I tried though and gave it 100% so I have decided it may just not be my gift!

After finishing up that project, we headed back to our house to fill up water for the plants. I realized that the Thrive for 5 program was getting started and all the kids were arriving with their parents. I knew then it was time to stay!

Back home in Tennessee, I am finishing up my last semester of nursing school (Bondye bon – God is good). I was thrilled about the opportunity to see all the children and their moms, but I got the privilege of working with the nurse of the program. I even got to ask her a few questions about life as a nurse in Haiti. It was interesting conversation as we both speak Crenglish (Creole & English). But I am more on the English side and she is more on the Creole side. It was exciting and entertaining, attempting to figure out the different answers and questions but it was an adventure. I ended up taking the blood pressure of many of the women that came through. I used a lot of gestures and wrote down the readings as English numbers and French numbers are quite different.

Thrive for Five meal ready to serve Thrive boy

I ended up getting to hold some babies and take blood pressures. It was like a day in Heaven! Two things that I love. Oh and to top it off, I was able to speak Spanish with a couple different people and ended up introducing myself in Spanish to the staff the same afternoon. I like to see God in the small things and that was definitely three of them- Babies, Nursing stuff, and Spanish.

We then ate lunch and continued the afternoon with food distribution to 5 families. This is such a teaching experience. Going out and hearing people’s stories, blessing them with food and praying for them. It was humbling but something about it felt like obedience. It reminds me of the verse in Matthew where Jesus says, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me…Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” It really helped me to see what Many Hands 4 Haiti is doing, and their heart is here in this beautiful land.

I love seeing the people; actually seeing them. Their faces. Their hearts. Their stories. Haiti is teaching me more than just how to plant plantain trees. It is teaching me how to see people and how to love. As I go through each day I cannot believe how many thoughts and emotions flow through my head. But in the end I see Jesus in all of it. I see His heart for these people and the need for Jesus in my own life. Bondye bon! 

 

Brandon Olin

“Bokit, Bokit, Bokit!” It seems to me like that was the phrase I heard the most this morning. The word “bokit” means “bucket” in English. Part of our group stayed and worked with transplanting Plantain trees. While the other half went and poured a new concrete floor. I went with the group that was pouring concrete floors. This is my second time coming to Many Hands with Cumberland and it was my second time doing a concrete floor. I have poured concrete back in the states and it is a totally different system in Haiti. No concrete mixer. The only thing they do is create a pond of water in the middle of the sand, gravel, and cement that has been dumped on the ground and they mix it in. I also know from previous experiences that concrete has to be a specific consistency. However, Haitians have a blend of not mixed and very watered down concrete, but it all works.

Team helping with a concrete floor in Lapila Finished concrete floor Team, workers, and family at the completion of the concrete floor

After that we met the Many Hands staff and then continued on to another food distribution. I ended up being the gentleman and stood in the back of the truck while everyone else sat down. Rest-assured I am tired now! The power of a simple meal in Haiti shows how God blesses this country. I can say from experience that even though there is struggle and conflict in Haiti, God’s presence continues to reign sufficient and in control. Seeing the peoples’ reactions to a big meal for their family makes me happy knowing that God can use that food to help them continue doing his service. God is here and it is evident, however, the fear of certain things seems to hold some of the people we visited from fully trusting Him. It’s like my favorite song says in Creole…

“Mwen pa esklav ni pe,
Mwen se pitit Bondye.”
“I’m no longer a slave to fear,
I am a child of God.”

 

Catch up on Cumberland’s days 2 &3 here.

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