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Mon Aug 30, 2021, 04:16 PM

Meet Belize's secluded Mennonites, a community frozen in time

Homesteads dotting a pastoral landscape, families living by lamplight and men in straw hats riding horse-drawn carriages -- the scenes in Jake Michaels' photographs could easily depict bygone times in the American Midwest. But not only do his pictures hail from the digital age, they were taken hundreds of miles away in Belize.
The tiny Central American country is home to around 12,000 of the world's most conservative Mennonites, a group of Christians that live in closed communities and shun modern technology including, in some cases, electricity. Dating back to 16th-century Europe, the Protestant sect's members have since moved around the world in search of isolated farmland, and to escape persecution or attempts to integrate them into wider society.
Belize's colonies date back to the late 1950s, when a group of over 3,000 Canadian Mennonites immigrated there from Mexico. Their arrival followed an agreement with the Belizean government, which offered them land, religious freedom and exemption from certain taxes (and, as committed pacifists, from military service).
In return, the country has enjoyed the fruits of their agriculture. Today, Mennonites dominate Belize's domestic poultry and dairy markets, despite representing less 4% of the population.

https://www.cnn.com/style/article/belize-mennonites-jake-michaels/index.html
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I have one argument with a sentence in this article: "Belize's Mennonites have literacy rates significantly lower than the country's other ethnic groups, with just 5% completing formal secondary education." An 8th grade education does not equal illiteracy. Amish and conservative Mennonites are some of the biggest users of public libraries that I have met and the children are voracious readers even though their reading is somewhat censored.

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Reply Meet Belize's secluded Mennonites, a community frozen in time (Original post)
Jilly_in_VA Aug 2021 OP
shrike3 Aug 2021 #1
50 Shades Of Blue Aug 2021 #2
Scrivener7 Aug 2021 #4
grumpyduck Aug 2021 #3
Jilly_in_VA Aug 2021 #5

Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Mon Aug 30, 2021, 04:19 PM

1. How interesting. Thanks.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Mon Aug 30, 2021, 04:27 PM

2. I would not want to be a child or woman in that kind of set-up.

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Response to 50 Shades Of Blue (Reply #2)

Mon Aug 30, 2021, 06:40 PM

4. Nope. Nope, nope, nope, nope.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Mon Aug 30, 2021, 04:37 PM

3. Secondary education generally means

high school, i.e, 9th to 12th grades.

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Response to grumpyduck (Reply #3)

Mon Aug 30, 2021, 06:47 PM

5. I'm aware of that

Most Mennonite kids here go to high school. However, I've been in places where very conservative Mennonite and Amish kids don't. They still use the public libraries and read a lot, which was why I objected to the classification of them as not being "literate". I suspect they read in Belize too.

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