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Thread: Ethnic Germans and Mennonites in Bolivia

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    Good news. Mennonites are wonderful, traditional, hard-working, religious people, and the world will only benefit from an increase in their numbers.

    Some of my ancestors were Mennonite.

    Quote Originally Posted by SpearBrave View Post
    Yes, Mennonites like their cousins the Amish either have their own schools or home school if their settlement is just a few families. They only go to grade 8 in most cases, yet they are better at the basics of learning math, reading, writing and history. Mennonites and Amish children are taught to learn and teach themselves, something that is greatly lacking in most modern education systems.
    This is not true of most Mennonites. My grandfather was born to a Mennonite family (in America), and all of his siblings and him finished high school. Some, including him, even went to college.

    I think it's only true of "Old Order Mennonites", but I'm not sure.

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    If you had asked me what a mennonite was I would have said it was small creature like a trilobite from before the dinosaurs. Strange name.

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    Mennonite communities speak volumes as people who refuse the Mainstream. ie: western society engineered towards self destruction by enemies of the white race as a whole.
    Wahrheit Macht Freiheit.
    http://www.rheinwiesenlager.de
    HISTORY IS NOT HISTORY - UNLESS IT IS THE 100% TRUTH

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobby Martnen View Post
    Good news. Mennonites are wonderful, traditional, hard-working, religious people, and the world will only benefit from an increase in their numbers.

    Some of my ancestors were Mennonite.




    This is not true of most Mennonites. My grandfather was born to a Mennonite family (in America), and all of his siblings and him finished high school. Some, including him, even went to college.

    I think it's only true of "Old Order Mennonites", but I'm not sure.

    I have lived many years around various Mennonite and Amish communities, and most do not go to school past grade 8 and I never heard of them going to public schools. Old order Mennonites are Amish, even though the Amish branched off the Mennonites originally. Each Settlement varies depending on the bishops and elders, some are more strict than others. Often Amish and Mennonites start new settlements if they don't like the rules from their current one.
    Life is like a fire hydrant- sometimes you help people put out their fires, but most of the time you just get peed on by every dog in the neighborhood.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Untersberger View Post
    Mennonite communities speak volumes as people who refuse the Mainstream. ie: western society engineered towards self destruction by enemies of the white race as a whole.
    Really? Your Mennonite male is just like any other rural American, a hunter, snowmobler, pickup driver, farmer type, even if he works for the government, the wife on the other hand, wears the little tea doily burka on her head, and the floral, flour sack dress.

    If you ran into a Mennonite male down at the local Cenex, you wouldn't know he was Mennonite, 'cause he looks like anyone else, his girls on the other hand, no mistaking it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammish View Post
    Really? Your Mennonite male is just like any other rural American, a hunter, snowmobler, pickup driver, farmer type, even if he works for the government, the wife on the other hand, wears the little tea doily burka on her head, and the floral, flour sack dress.

    If you ran into a Mennonite male down at the local Cenex, you wouldn't know he was Mennonite, 'cause he looks like anyone else, his girls on the other hand, no mistaking it.
    Na, I can spot the males by their cotton plaid shirts, beards and haircuts.
    Life is like a fire hydrant- sometimes you help people put out their fires, but most of the time you just get peed on by every dog in the neighborhood.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpearBrave View Post
    Na, I can spot the males by their cotton plaid shirts, beards and haircuts.
    I'm starting to think I need to dress better, 'cause, other than the beards, I dress like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammish View Post
    I'm starting to think I need to dress better, 'cause, other than the beards, I dress like that.
    Live around them and you will see what I mean, its just a look they have. They do however drive trucks, snowmobile and usually they work or own construction companies.
    Life is like a fire hydrant- sometimes you help people put out their fires, but most of the time you just get peed on by every dog in the neighborhood.

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    I reckon you could probably identify them by their faces as well, given their sky-high rates of endogamy they probably have certain hallmark looks. I haven't been around as many Amish/Mennonites/Hutterites but I can definitely do this with Utah Mormons.

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    Some more pictures and articles:















    Low German Mennonite colonies growing fast in Bolivia

    HESSTON, Kan. — Even though Buhler Mennonite Church Pastor Willmar T. Harder wasn’t preaching, he brought a pair of austere black boots to his presentation on the Low German Mennonites of Bolivia at the March 4 Mennonite World Review Inc. annual corporation meeting at Hesston College.

    Inspired by a directive in Eph. 6:15 that your feet should be shod with the gospel of peace, the first thing an Old Colony Mennonite preacher does when he is ordained is get fitted for knee-high boots — typically made by a local Spanish Bolivian who handles such orders from several Latin American countries.

    “He had a whole booklet of shoe sizes of the bishops in the Old Colony Mennonite church. How’s that for social history?” Harder said. “He showed me who had the biggest feet.”

    Colonists knew he gave sermons, so Harder’s pair were a going away present at the end of the four years his family directed Mennonite Central Committee’s Low German Mennonite program in Bolivia, from 2010 to 2014.

    Most of the roughly 70,000 Low German-speaking Mennonites in Bolivia living in about 75 colonies or communities are of Dutch background. They came through Prussia to South Russia, to Canada and then to Latin America in search of religious freedom and land for their preferred agricultural vocation.

    An average family has eight children, and it is estimated the population doubles in 15 years.

    “Over 70 percent of this population is Bolivian by birth,” Harder said. “That’s an interesting stat when tensions rise about foreigners and certain parts of the government point to Mennonites and say, ‘You foreigners take our land.’

    “They respond, ‘The only documents we have are Bolivian.’ ”

    While about 80 percent of the Low German Mennonites in Bolivia use horse and buggy and wear what appears to be a uniform of overalls for the men and flowery-print dresses for women, the country is also home to smaller groups who either broke away from the colonies or are of Russian background and come over the border from Paraguay. There is also a division between Old Colony groups that came directly from Canada and those who spent time in Mexico.

    “It is still very hard to do anything together, and that’s part of MCC’s job, to get these groups to come to a table together,” he said. “ . . . It was fun, challenging, and it opened my eyes. I thought I learned a lot about Mennonites in Jim Juhnke’s [Bethel College history] class, but I didn’t learn about these Mennonites.”
    http://mennoworld.org/2016/03/14/new...st-in-bolivia/

    Step Back in Time With the Mennonites of Bolivia

    On a foggy night twelve years ago, Jordi Busqué thought he was hallucinating. He and his brother were waiting for a bus in the eastern lowlands of Bolivia when out of the darkness, tall figures dressed in overalls, cowboy hats, and long frocks passed by without a sound. Inquiring about the strange apparition the next morning, Busqué learned they were Mennonites, a religious group committed to pacifism, social discipline, and community-based agriculture.

    Busqué, who is from Barcelona, had never heard about the Mennonites. Fascinated, he sought them out, eventually visiting 20 colonies over the course of the next 10 years.



    “Today, cultures from around the world tend to become quite the same, imitating the mores they see in films and on television,” he says. But Mennonites largely reject modern conveniences and eschew cultural assimilation, favoring an insularism that enables them to preserve the traditions and language of their European ancestors.

    Indeed, since originating in 16th century Netherlands and Germany, Mennonites have migrated through Europe and eventually the New World in search of arable land where they’d be free to live by their own rules. The roughly 60,000 that now call Bolivia home came by way of Canada, the United States, or Mexico, migrating further and further south as these countries began introducing secular compulsory schooling.

    Bolivia, however, welcomed them as skilled farmers, granting them autonomy in terms of education, welfare, municipal governance, dispute resolution, and property ownership.

    Busqué visited the colonies on foot, carrying a sleeping bag so he could sleep under the stars. Photography is forbidden in nearly all colonies—Busque compares initial reactions to him taking out his camera out as if he were taking out a gun—so it took patience and dedication to earn their trust. He helped them with their work –a tractor accident almost cost him his hand and his life– and took only a few pictures throughout each stay to avoid disrupting their way of life.

    Photographing so deliberately also helped him conserve battery power, which was essential given that their homes are without electricity.

    Busqué has seen families grow, young girls becoming adults, births, and funerals. Eventually, he says, “I want to follow a whole generation and see how it changes.”

    The Mennonites in Bolivia are among the most conservative, yet Busqué has witnessed communities changing at various paces.

    “Some differences that we might deem trivial are crucial to them,” he notes. He gives the example of the types of tractor they use. Some colonies refuse to use those with rubber tires, which can be used to go into the city, preferring older models with iron wheels, which are only meant for the fields.

    Despite their ancient working techniques, Mennonites are a boost to the regional economy. Their soybeans and sunflower crops are bought by multinationals while their dairy products are enjoyed by locals. And, in the towns close to their colonies, shops cater to their specific needs. “Stores carry the cowboy hats that they prefer, or the fabric from which the women make their dresses. There are even hotels without modern amenities where they can stay,” observed Busqué.



    If the exchanges between the two populations are largely economic, he believes we could all learn a thing or two from Mennonites and vice-versa. “I was very comfortable and at peace inside the colonies. There’s no television, no wi-fi. You can disconnect, wake up to the call of a rooster or birdsongs, and generally feel less stress,” he says. “That said, they’re often unaware of what goes on beyond their fenceline. Somewhere between us and them, there’s a healthy compromise.”
    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/p...olivia-busque/

    MENNONITES: CONNECTED TO THE LAND, NOT THE WEB

    Conservative Mennonite communities around the world have lived as simply as possible for centuries. They don't drive cars and refuse to use electricity.

    In eastern Bolivia, where photographer Jordi Ruiz Cirera recently spent time with the Mennonites who've settled there, families still use gas lights and travel by horse and buggy. They're not used to the conveniences of the modern world and are still unfamiliar with most modern technologies, including cameras.

    That unfamiliarity is present in many of Cirera's photos, including one of a young girl that is now a finalist for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize awarded by the National Portrait Gallery in London.

    "It's obvious that she doesn’t know how to represent herself to the photographer," he says. "I think the photo gives you a real glimpse of what life is like in this community. It shows you how far away they are from everyone else."

    While Cirera's work is not nearly as extensive as Larry Towell's famous Mennonite project, the photos have a similar feel and provide an updated look inside an isolated community.

    Professor Royden Loewen, the chair of the Mennonite Studies program at the University of Winnipeg, says many Mennonites do without the conveniences of modern life because they're trying to adhere to a strict code of simplicity that is based on original biblical teachings.

    As a Protestant Christian group, Mennonites "often talk about following Christ's example rather than having faith in Christ," Loewen says. "Mennonites are known for taking Christ's teachings literally."

    Because the Bible talks about Christ as a pacifist, Mennonites believe in pacifism. In the name of simplicity many are farmers. But just like any religious group, Loewen says there are varying levels of devotion. He says about two-thirds of the Mennonites in Bolivia are more conservative and adhere strictly to the no technology rule. But the other third, which he says are often referred to as "car-driving Mennonites," use most modern technology freely.

    Around the world he says there are many different ways that Mennonite communities interpret the rules.

    Cirera says most of the people he stayed with were more conservative. They chose to be farmers and raised corn and soybeans that were then fed to cattle that they sold in the Bolivian markets. People in communities, or "colonies" as they are referred to, do have contact with regular Bolivians, he says, but it's mostly the men who travel to sell the cattle or buy supplies. The women and children are more isolated.

    Loewen says there are currently about 70,000 Mennonites in Bolivia, 99 percent of whom originally came from Canada in the 1920s. They fled that country, he says, because at the time Canada was trying to force Mennonite children, who speak Low German, to attend English-language Canadian schools against their will.

    Many of those Mennonites originally moved to Mexico, but then migrated to Bolivia in the late 1960s when the areas in Mexico where they lived became too modern.

    When it came to being photographed, Cirera says each person made their own interpretation about where photography fit into their beliefs on simplicity. Some were okay with having their portraits taken. Others said they couldn't pose but were okay with candid pictures. Others refused to have their picture taken all together.

    The one thing that was on his side, Cirera says, is that without electricity the people he stayed with were forced to rely on natural light. Their dining room tables were almost always in front of a window, he says, creating the perfect studio for impromptu portraits.

    "The consistency was amazing," he says.
    https://www.wired.com/2012/09/techno...-off-the-grid/

    Inside the World of Bolivia's Mennonite Colonies

    Jordi Ruiz Cirera's book "Los Menonos,", documents the lives of Mennonite communities throughout Bolivia. Mennonites are Christian Anabaptists who arrived during the fifties from Canada, Mexico or Belize, hoping they'd be able to preserve their lifestyle. They have adopted their ancestors' way of life with no cars, telephones, electricity or modern utilities.

    See slideshow here: https://abcnews.go.com/Photos/photos...image-33023477

    More pictures: https://www.theguardian.com/world/ga...ia-in-pictures

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