Quebec - Patagonia 2017-2019

(North and Central America)
unknown length - solo travel - Suzuki DR650 moto

Meeting Mennonites

September 3, 2017  —  United States
Tennessee - United States
The Press House.
Tennessee - United States

Who are the Mennonites? Do you remember the movie Witness (1985) with Harrison Ford? That film is about Amish, but Mennonites live in a similar way.

For my foreign eyes, the most obvious characteristic of the Mennonites is the choice of life without technology. Indeed, they refuse modern technologies and live without electricity nor petrol engine. In the fields, they can be seen working the land by hand or till with only a horse and a plow. They lit themselves with candles or oil lamps.

They are also very pious and reject violence in every way (even to protect themselves). Mennonites are part of a Christian movement called 'anabaptist'. They believe that baptism must be a conscious choice and should not be forced upon a child. No baptism for children.

This religion was founded by Menno Simons (1496–1561) in a province of the Netherlands. It is possible that the technology they accept predates the 1500s.

Tennessee - United States
Tennessee - United States
Young people and women, we have seen, were all going around barefoot.
Tennessee - United States
Tennessee - United States
Yes, there are two lights with a battery, but it's the choice of the Mennonites. Government forces them to use this technology to be able to go on roads at night. The battery and the small solar panel to recharge it are strictly dedicated to these two lights, they are not used in the house.
Tennessee - United States

Their refusal of technology leads them to be ingenious in some areas. Mennonites have printing press. They use these old contraptions that are driven with belts by a horse.

We met James who showed us how he runs its various printing press. For each page he will print, James must carefully prepare all the words and sentences one by one. After a page, he has to redo the whole process.

Tennessee - United States

James works the printing presses and its farm. He is the father of ten children.

Tennessee - United States
Tennessee - United States
Tennessee - United States
Tennessee - United States
James is explaining to us how the press function.
Tennessee - United States
The presses are driven with this device powered by a horse.
Tennessee - United States
Tennessee - United States
Tennessee - United States

Cows are milked by hand in a bucket.

Tennessee - United States
Tennessee - United States