Take a second to read: most Mennonite related internet searches land on this article. Laura and I are hapy that our essays continue to provide faithful information about the least visited and most remote cultures on Earth. But please, if you find this resource useful , keep us travelling the world and reaserching by donating towards our project. Find the ay Pal button on the barside.
The Mennonites are an Anabaptist religious community that originated in the 16th Century in Europe. In the times of the Reform the Anabaptists took distance from both the Vatican and the Lutheran church, since they didn’t support the baptism of babies but that of adult voluntary believers. By 1530 Rome and the Protestant communities agreed to persecute the Anabaptists, who organized a frustrated revolt in Munster, Germany. Hundreds of them died in the attempt. But many others, later called the Mennonites preferred to start an exodus that four centuries later resulted in more than a million and a half Mennonites settling in more than 109 countries. Where they go, the nestle in farming communities where they practice a frugal lifestyle characterized by work in the fields, strong sense of community and family, the conservation of plat-deutsch, and regulation of the contacts with the outside world. They don’t use cars, radios, computers, etc. Today, only 37% of them live in Europe (they are original from Northern Germany and the Netherlands), the rest have settled across the Atlantic in North and Latin America (particularly in Paraguay, Mexico and Bolivia). The largest numbers of them are found, however, in Africa.
We finally catch a glimpse of a Group of them. When we go out of the car, it seems we are in front of several clones of the same individual. They all resemble each other! I allow myself to think that, after several centuries of crossing of the same genetic lots nature must tend to the generation of beings with less and less inter-individual differences. They are all blonde, tall, with an unmistakable Nordic look. They also wear the same kind of clothes: they use baseball caps –cowboy hats for the adults- quadrille shirts and blue trousers. Two little kids observe us from afield, but don’t get close.
At their feet I see an empty wine bottle. Alcohol is forbidden, but I haven’t yet generated the sufficient confidence to ask them details about that and other transgressions. My mind is an index of questions which remain unsaid out of strategy. The tallest of them has clearly a set of white headphones climbing from within his jacket to his ears. Music is also theoretically banned, as anything else that takes man away from the three pillars of the Mennonites: family, work and spirituality. The Taliban had also banned music in Afghanistan. While a parallel with them would be an exaggeration, reminiscence in some regards in unavoidable.