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Volume XXIV No 1 April 2012 The KIT Newsletter editorial staff welcomes all suggested contributions for publication in the Newsletter from subscribers and readers, but whether a given submission meets the criteria for publication is at the sole discretion of the editors. While priority will be given to original contributions by people with past Bruderhof connections, any letters, articles, or reports which the editors deem to be of historical or personal interest or to offer new perspectives on issues of particular relevance to the ex-Bruderhof Newsletter readership may be included as well. The editors may suggest to the authors changes to improve their presentation.
Have you made your KIT Newsletter subscription/donation payment this year? Please find details on last page.
EURO KIT GATHERING IN ENGLAND – JULY 2012
At Lower Shaw Farm, Old Shaw Lane, Swindon, Wiltshire. SN5 5PJ 3 DAYS – from Friday afternoon 20th July to after breakfast on Monday 23rd July
Main organizer: John Holland. Mobile telephone number: +44 (0) 7771 615 663. The local number is: +44(0)1 666 860 229 Joy MacDonald is co-ordinating both the collection of money and the allocation of rooms, but Tim Johnson in the USA has agreed to receive payment in US $ and Anthony Lord in Germany can receive Euros. Please make your booking with Joy who will pass on the details to Tim or Anthony, although you can also contact either of them by using the details at the back of the Newsletter. We are requesting £10, or $10, or €10 as a deposit. Email - email@example.com Address - Foxglen, Pinemount Road, Camberley, Surrey, GU15 2LU, UK Telephone number - 01276 26938 Details for those wishing to make Bank Transfers: Lloyds TSB plc Camberley, Mr R and Mrs J MacDonald, Sort Code- 30 64 37 Account number 13925568 The cost per person for the whole weekend is £100 or $160 or €120 if staying at Lower Shaw Farm - or for day attendees the cost per person is £30 or $50 or €35 for the whole weekend. We are hoping that a few people might wish to add a little extra money which would allow us to help subsidise others who might need help with the above costs. We will have a Drinks Bar with a variety of alcoholic drinks, very reasonably priced with a “pay as you drink” honesty collection box! We also hope to arrange a coach trip for a few hours on Saturday around some interesting Cotswold sites and countryside in this most beautiful part of England. If anyone would like to stay at Lower Shaw Farm for longer, before and/or after the weekend, could you contact John who lives very near and will make whatever arrangements are needed? Please pass all the above information on to anyone who might be interested
Contents EURO KIT GATHERING IN ENGLAND – JULY 2012 1 Erratum: Migg’s birthday 1 Titterstone and Wheathill Walking in June 2012 1 KIT Newsletter Account 2011 2 No Training Encouragement After School 2 Margot Purcell Manages the KIT Address List 2 Norah Allain Died at Peace 3 Teresa Hsu –Regarded as The Mother Teresa of Singapore 4 Andy Barth in Memory 6 Laurenz Braun 1936 – 2011 7 Helly Braun Died Suddenly 8 Hutterites Have a Lot to Teach the Bruderhof 9 Ramon Sender Emperor of The Realm on April 1st 2012 9 Childhood Memories of Primavera, Paraguay – Part 4 10 8. Oh Heart, Where Are You Going – Part 2 13 Nadine Pleil’s Autobiography Translated into German 16 KIT Newsletter – Contact Details 16 ____________________________________________________
Titterstone and Wheathill Walking
By Andy Harries In June, 2012 Gudrun and I are going to visit Wheathill. I am planning to do a bit of walking. We will be there for three days staying at B&B; we will be there Wed 13th, Thursday 14th and Friday 15th of June. I will be leading a walk on the 13 th, going up Callow Lane to the top of Titterstone. There, amongst the boulders we will have a snack to enjoy the view towards Bromdon; then on across the moor to Cleeton St Mary and on to the BeechWood, as we knew it. We will stop there for a picnic (we might even play robbers and princesses if anybody feels young enough). Then on down to Silvington village, have a look at the famous Church, then back via Love Lane and the top of the Banks fields. The 14th can be a day for people to have a look at our old haunts or go to Ludlow, or anywhere else. The 15 th I am hoping to have a go at walking up Brown Burf, which I don't yet know so well — we might be able to include Nordy Bank in that. Gudrun is not able to walk so much, so she will be making up another group of those who would like to have a more sedentary look around Wheathill. Linda had volunteered to join Gudrun and help with any transport needed. If anybody is interested you can let me know, my telephone number 01264 353800 and address are in the KIT address book.
KIT: Emil (Migg) Fischli’s next birthday is on June, 27 th 2012. He then will be ninety-six. In the last KIT Newsletter we published a wrong date. Sorry for that! Just the same, we want to wish Migg the very best at all times!
Keep In Touch Newsletter
Vol. XXIV No 1 April 2012
KIT Newsletter Account 2011
By Joy MacDonald Three KIT Newsletters were produced in April, September and December of 2011 and sent to 200 subscribers. The total expenses were £ 875 or approximately $1,395. And the total balance as of 31st December 2011 is £572, approximately equivalent to $912. The money was used entirely for producing and mailing the Newsletter. There are still a number of people who do not contribute and there was some discussion about this at our last Friendly Crossways gathering in August 2011, some people suggesting we should remove them from our mailing list, but most of us felt strongly that we should continue sending to people who wish to Keep In Touch and we also know there are some folk who may have financial difficulties. However, we would of course encourage everyone to support us by contributing. This was also the year in which Erdmuthe and Linda produced the Primavera DVD. In total sixty were sold and I will be bringing some DVD’s to our forthcoming KIT gathering at Lower Shaw Farm in July. Finally, as I mentioned in December’s KIT Newsletter, Raphael Vowles has very kindly agreed to take over collection of KIT subscriptions in the U.K, and also the end-of-year combined accounts. Please refer to the last page of each KIT Newsletter for the contact details of where to send your subscriptions.
No Training Encouragement After School
By Linda Lord Jackson KIT. On Hummer there was a discussion beginning of this year about the schooling and education of children brought up in Primavera. A question came up about whether they all were given a chance for training after that. Linda Lord Jackson wrote interestingly about her very typical experience which KIT is publishing below. Several others could tell a similar story. I left school aged fifteen – without any form of school leaving certificate. (Instead of Sexto Grado, I studied for the GCE – the English leavers certificate (my Granny paid for the correspondence course) – with Eve Vigar, Judy Jory and Mark Trapnell, but was unable to take the GCE exam. We had been booked to take the exams at exactly the same time as kids in England (to avoid cheating). But some uprising in Asunción closed the embassy at that point. Judy and Eve were rushed to England to take the exam, Mark and I missed out. Had I but realised it, I could have taken it when I went to England a few years later. From ages fifteen to eighteen our age group still on the hof worked during the day, and attended Fortbildungsschule (further training curse) in the evenings – not necessarily on the same hof. I travelled with others to Ibaté (by then I worked in Isla) for sessions with George Vigar. Can’t remember any of the other tutors or the subjects, but George gave me a brilliant reference as a result, which helped when I tried to get into college, aged twenty three, with no school leavers certificates. At eighteen – officially for training, again at Mum’s insistence, and my Granny’s expense, I travelled to England. Once there, no mention of training was made; I was “helped” to find a job. In twelve months I had three different ones, not managing to keep them long: the first one at a children’s home in Gerrards Cross. There I cracked a bone in my leg, went back to Bulstrode from the hospital, and never went back to the job. I don’t really
know what happened about that. Next one was mother’s help with a posh Jewish family in Hendon – Phil and Bee dropped off my case there the following day. I had to scrub the carpets after they stood inside the door in muddy farm boots. I lost that one, as I refused to go on holiday to Italy with them to look after the kids. I had already figured out I was being exploited, and working far too many hours for a pittance. I had to get the children up, care for them all day. Once they were in bed, I washed and ironed their clothes, cleared up the kitchen and their play room, and had to stay in as “babysitter” as the parents were either out, or entertaining. I got one afternoon off from 11:00am to 7:00pm, Saturday I think, while the children went to some Jewish meeting. In the local park, chatting to the other nannies, I soon found out that I was doing too much for too little money! After about twelve months, in a job or at Bulstrode or Wheathill, came the great exodus from Primavera. By then I had my third job as an assistant nurse in a London children’s hospital – not in training though, I needed school leavers certificates for that. I have just found letters my Granny wrote to Mum and Dad asking why I was not starting any training during that time. I wish Granny had told me, I might have gone to live with them, and got some exams and training, which is what I had wanted to do. As it was, it took me through the first years of my marriage until I was thirty five to get properly qualified, while working part time. Even then, I only got accepted in college due to George Vigar’s good report, and an IQ test. I eventually got a teaching certificate for special schools, a German fellowship, an Open University Degree (taken at home while my children were little), then a post grad teaching Diploma. Since then I have studied various things like IT [information technology], basic computer programming, (I wrote several programs to help children with specific problems) languages, electronics, as part of my career as a teacher of pupils with learning disabilities, ages two to nineteen. I really would have liked to have gone to University though, and studied alongside other young people. As it was it took me a long time to get acknowledged in the job market as actually having a brain. That is a very basic overview of my experience. I agree with other Primavera sabras; we had a good basic education, just no way of proving it to make progress “in the outside”. But we also learned to be resourceful, and learned good survival skills, both in practical ways, and “mentally”. We were not accustomed to having much – even if we owned something special, we knew it could be taken off us “on a whim” because someone else’s need for it was supposedly greater: My violin – bought and sent to me by my Granny – was taken from me, as it had a good tone, and my music teacher thought it suited her daughter better. However, she soon decided her daughter was not suited to play violin in the orchestra at that time, and I got it back, and was “allowed” to play in the orchestra! I still have that lovely violin.
KIT Address List
Please note that MARGOT PURCELL has now taken over the KIT Newsletter Address List and distribution details. Any changes should be sent to her in future. See back page for contact details. Margot is also managing the published KIT Address List, so again please let her know if you change any details, including asking to be included in or removed from the published list. Linda Lord Jackson
Keep In Touch Newsletter
Vol. XXIV No 1 April 2012
Norah Allain Died at Peace
By Jean-Pierre Allain and brothers and sisters Our mother, Norah C. Keeping Allain, born in Exeter on July 14th 1915, passed away peacefully in her sleep on Tuesday, 3 rd April 2012. She was almost ninety-seven. She was buried next to our father, Roger Allain, in the cemetery in Vinhedo, Brazil, on April 4th. Mother had been very frail for quite a long time, suffering from no particular illness, but from indigestion, sores, pains. She was too weak to walk or to do anything. She was mentally aware, but her mind strayed often and it was hard to have any conversation with her. She had two nurses taking care of her, as well as Cristina, our youngest sister, and her daughter Ana Maria, 19. She will be sorely missed, for she was the magnet that brought us all together at Innisfree, my parents home in Brazil. Despite her failing short-term memory, she talked about some of you often and had very fond memories of you.
I hope it catches some of her spirit, her musings while gardening, her dreaming and floating away even in the middle of all of us having "tea"; she was like a song lost somewhere between Brazil and England. She was a good friend to me and I loved her very much.
Remembering Norah and Roger Allain
Christrose Sumner to Hummer, April 3rd: Susan and I visited Norah in September 2005 and stayed a few days at Innisfree. It was a lovely visit. Roger and Norah used to visit the UK fairly frequently. I remember my children being delighted to find this little granny type person happily ensconced in a top bunk-bed; another time I found her doing sprightly exercises on my livingroom floor, as if she were a three or four decades younger. By the time we visited her in Brazil, her physical capabilities were falling off, though her mental acuity was great. Whenever she visited, it was a great pleasure to take her over to Belinda's, a chance to listen to their reminiscences and joy in each other's company. My thoughts are with her very considerable family, in the loss of such a wonderful mother and grandmother. Phil Hazelton to Hummer, April 3rd: It is hard to be thankful for news of someone's passing, except that the alternative – not hearing – is worse. I don't even know where to begin recounting all the many wonderful times and visits I shared with Norah and before that Roger and Norah at Innisfree over the years. It all started back in 1973 when I was in Paraguay with my young (and, at that time, about to grow by one more) family and ran into Roger Allain and Walter Braun in a popular Asunción restaurant (somewhere on the Plaza Uruguaya, I believe). From there our families were very close and we visited them all at Innisfree quite regularly until the death of my own wife, Lee (who made the drawing and wrote out Yates' poem to hang in their Innisfree living room cum library). I hope it is still there. With Norah no subject was ever verboten and she was a wise and insightful connoisseur of the human soul and psyche. With Roger I roved the surrounding - and evermore chopped up countryside every morning at dawn, returning to a lovely breakfast on the porch and looking down and out towards the farm and garden which Norah tended with such love and devotion and skill, no matter how vertical the sunbeams rose to be! Our conversations roamed widely and often well into the spiritual and even esoteric realms, before coming back to family and relationships and friendships and the ever consuming “state of the world”. Please pass on my personal thanks - posthumously - on to dear Norah and Roger and the encompassing family. I know that Innisfree will always be there for us to visit and remember them with love and gratitude. “Peace I ask of thee, o River; peace, peace, peace...” Ramon Sender to Hummer, April 3rd: So sorry to learn of Norah's reassignment off-planet. We kept up a lively correspondence for many years, and also I hunted down and provided her with many Seth books by her favorite author, Jane Roberts. Now I wish I had kept a separate file of her correspondence, but have a feeling it's jumbled by year in various grocery bags in the attic. Norah was a spiritually awakened and perceptive person. We only met once – in London when Judy and I travelled to a KIT conference – but I formed a strong impression of a no-nonsense woman with firm opinions, many of which I shared.
Memorial for a Close Friend
By Annelies Allain Memorials are common in a number of religions. A Buddhist friend of ours just did prayers for her father who died about a month ago. Such prayers are specifically prescribed: first every seven days, then by month, then by year. The Buddhist priests tell them when and how. It is a kind of traditional spacing of mourning...
I wanted to do something like that for Norah just once and found this poem in French. I really liked the words, the rhythm, the peace in it. If you know French just read it aloud and you'll see what I mean. Since Norah was connected to France in a number of ways, I thought it was appropriate. For those of you who don't understand French, I have translated it without making it rhyme, just adapting it to Norah’s life and personality. The photo was taken in January 2011, the last time I saw her. Going through our copy of Norah’s own poems (typed up by Clara and Isabel) and her unfinished autobiography I did not find any poem suitable for her own memorial. But it is amazing how, while raising all her children and running a household, she managed to find time to write letters and poetry, to study UFOs, Jung psychology, New Age books and Seth, etc. She wrote more about nature, love and living so I stuck with Aragon in French.
Keep In Touch Newsletter
Vol. XXIV No 1 April 2012
Oosterwolde. We had a wonderful time together with never ending discussions about our past. I visited Norah and Roger at their home, “Innisfree,” near Vinhedo/Sao Paulo in November 1987, during which I got to know Norah much better. I helped weeding and watering the garden, harvesting, looking after the hens. Together we pealed dry coffee beans and had many interesting talks. I’m thankful to this day for our time together. I took back with me five or more rolls of film with pictures of their wonderful surroundings, and other parts in Brazil we visited. So many things reminded me of my homeland, Paraguay! I suppose we all feel most grateful towards this couple for writing down their memories about Bruderhof life. Roger Allain’s book “The Community That Failed” (published by Carrier pigeon Press © 1992 by The Peregrine Foundation) gives abundant details about long passed times which otherwise couldn’t be put into place correctly. Norah has published her Life Story in the KIT Newsletter. Since there are no copies left of Roger’s book, I would like to mention that Norah’s account can be found in the KIT Newsletter No 12 December 1995, No 2 February 1996, No 3 March 1996, No 4 April 1996, No 3 March 1997, No 5 May 1997. A compilation of Norah’s Life Story can be found in the Memoirs area of the KIT Open Archive. See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/KIT-exBruderhofCCI/files/Memoirs/
70ties: Norah and Roger Allain in front of their house at Innisfree.
Teresa Hsu – Fondly Regarded as The Mother Teresa of Singapore
By Erdmuthe Arnold At a great age, Teresa Hsu (or Tsu – as we knew her in Primavera) died in Singapore on December 7 th, 2011. According to different Family Lists in use by Housemothers in Primavera, Teresa was born on June 1st, 1912. This compassionate and active woman was fondly known as The Mother Teresa of Singapore – in honor of her charitable work for the poor and needy during the decades after she left Primavera in 1961. The Straits Times in Singapore, and also on line in Wikipedia, and in Singapore Scenes Teresa’s death was reported and she was praised for her unselfish work. Anyone who Google’s her name will be astonished at the findings. Although – there are some details which give pause to skeptics starting with a birth date of July 7 th 1898! On Hummer we discussed this and came to the conclusion that the date known on the Bruderhof must be the correct one. But this detail is of no importance and does not diminish Teresa’s untiring dedication to her fellow men. In the last decade of her life Teresa was recognized for her tireless efforts on behalf of others. In 1994 she received the Community Service Award by the Life Insurance Association for her community service; she was named “Hero for Today” in 1997 by the Chinese-edition of the Readers Digest; in 1999 she received a one-off Special Award at the Woman of the Year award ceremony; In 2002, Teresa was given a Honorary Doctorate from the Australian University of Southern Queensland; in 2003 she was honored with the Active Senior Citizen of the Year Award from the Singapore Minister of State (Education, Community Development and Sport); in 2004 the Sporting Singapore Inspiration Award from the Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, was given for her devotion to the teaching of yoga. A photography exhibition was held in 2005 to honor Teresa’s life and work at the Mica Building, and in 2006 Teresa got the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Center’s Special Recognition Award from The Deputy Prime Minister.
If everything that my current favorite Near Death Experience author reports is correct – and I have a feeling that it is – then Norah and Roger are once more basking in one another's presences. Amazing! I posted something about the above-mentioned author a few days ago – but here is a direct link: www.anitamoorjani.com [Dying to Be Me – by Anita Moorjani]. Susan Suleski to Hummer, April 4th: Norah was an exceptional woman, as were so many of her generation who joined the Bruderhof – they had a dream and they pursued it, for which I honour them! Norah was wonderfully feisty, intelligent and perceptive, warm and generous. Erdmuthe Arnold: I got to know Norah and Roger only after we all had left the Bruderhof – in the late 70s/early 80s. During a Europe trip in 1977, Norah stayed in England visiting family and friends, but Roger surprised me with a call on his arrival in Frankfurt am Main, and I begged him to visit me in Bad Vilbel. I took a short vacation from work, and together we travelled to see other old Bruderhofers in southern Germany in my car; visiting Waltraud and Gerhard Wiegand’s home in Braunsbach-Tierberg/Schwäbisch Hall, as well as Else and Herbert Sorgius in Rottenburg-Weiler near Tübingen. On another visit four years later, Roger and Norah again contacted friends from old Uruguayan times (Annemarie Rübens and Eva Weil) who didn’t feel safe any longer in their exile country during the military dictatorship in Uruguay. Together we visited the Rhönbruderhof. It was my first time visiting that historic place and the grave of my grandfather Eberhard Arnold. – A good, lasting friendship with Eva and her late husband Ernesto Kroch was a most positive result of that visit for me. That year, 1981, we also traveled up north to visit my cousin Elisabeth and Hans Bohlken in
Keep In Touch Newsletter
Vol. XXIV No 1 April 2012
From Primavera times Teresa is remembered as a very devoted nurse, working in the hospital operating theatre in Loma Hoby. She had a special way of communicating with the Paraguayan patients, and even would say she could speak and understand their Guaraní language. Early in 1961 Teresa was told that “her services were no longer required.” As William Bridgwater wrote in the December KIT Newsletter 2009 on page 3, “She was dropped off in Asunción. … Singapore at the time was still ruled by the British, so she approached the British Ambassador in town, asking for help,” – and in the end she succeeded: The community paid for her one-way-ticket to England. I came across a letter by Teresa Hsu, published in Lee Kleist’s Newsletter No 3 in 1962. There she states that she arrived in Malaya on December 3rd 1961: “I am now for the time being working in a new hospital with the Franciscan Sisters. … It has 200 beds including a maternity ward of 50 beds, and a nurse’s training school. It is quite well equipped already and we are expecting further equipment donated by Germany and Australia mainly. … The Sisters are very devoted to their work, as they usually are, and they are a constant challenge to me. The patients who come are mostly poor and the languages used are English, Tamil, Malay, and six kinds of Chinese. Of these I have to learn three…”
Teresa Hsu looking after Servant Bud Mercer in the hospital in Isla Margarita, January 1961. He was injured by a Sting Ray in the Paraguay River © ETH-Bibliothek Zürich, Bildarchiv
MEMORIES OF TERESA HSU
By Elizabeth Bohlken Teresa was in Wheathill when our family arrived in September 1953. Years earlier, she had met Vera Lindsay, a Physiotherapist, either in a hospital or on the field with a Quaker organization during a Chinese war. In Wheathill the work of Vera and Teresa was greatly appreciated. Then an urgent call for medical help came from Primavera. So Vera (with her two children Rohan and Jean Margaret) and Teresa were sent to Paraguay. After re-establishing contacts with Ex-Hofers in 1963 I heard much about Teresa. She was very unhappy and upset when Woodcrest decided to break up the hospital and give up the Bruderhof in Loma Hoby. She could not understand why such a needed place, built up with so many personal as well as communal sacrifices should be closed down by brothers far away in the States. She protested and pleaded that at least a First Aid Post should be left to help the Paraguayans and the people in the community. I do remember Heini saying, that Teresa had joined for the work in a tropical hospital and had not been seeking for the spirit of Jesus and the “first love” to him. Bruce Sumner, Belinda Manley, Margaret Stern Hawkins, Gwynn and Buddug Evans as well as others, were quite concerned about Teresa, because she had left without a penny to her name. After her return to England, she wanted to proceed to Penang, Malaya (to care for her mother) and work there. So along with others they helped Teresa to pay the trip. When she saw the great need and poverty, especially among the lonesome old people she decided to do what she could do on her own.
TERESA’S MEMORIES OF HER EARLY LIFE AND JOINING THE BRUDERHOF
KIT. In the Bruderhof publication The Plough, Teresa shared about her life in 1953. Thanks to Linda Lord Jackson’s submission we can quote the following: “I was born at Swatow, a small seaside town in South China in the province of Kwangtung. We were often disturbed by earthquakes which destroyed a large number of houses and killed
many people. … Frequent typhoons and floods also caused extensive damage and much distress among our people. There were political disturbances too. During these times our family spent long periods with our maternal grandmother in a small village in the hilly pine woods. When I was about seven years old my sisters and I helped our older cousins with their work. Our day started at 5:00am, when we went out to the hills with baskets on our backs to gather pine needles for fuel. We also helped with the housework and washing, which was done in a stream near home. ... In winter it was a hardship. Most of our women brought in extra income by making lace and embroidery. Thus at the age of six I learnt to use the needle and other lace-making tools. … We had to practice with our hair, as cotton was too expensive to buy. “When I was fifteen our family moved to Penang, Malaya, where my elder sister and I went to a Roman Catholic convent school. We attended classes during school hours and spent some of our free time cleaning the First Class Boarders’ dormitory and shoes in order to pay for our board and school fees. Waves of rebellion often surged through my mind while I cleaned. We left after four years. “I was very much disturbed by the continual political unrest and particularly the 1937-1945 Sino-Japanese war which brought such suffering on my country. … I found employment in commercial offices but was dissatisfied. To earn a living was not my aim in life. I wanted to do something useful and decided to be a nurse, but no hospital would accept me for training, as I had not had the necessary education. “In 1941 I heard of the arrival of the Friends’ Ambulance Unit in China. The pacifist views of its members, their spirit of service, their work on a voluntary basis, and especially the complete breakdown of social barriers among them, seemed wonderful to me. I soon became a member and worked with them till the end of the war. … One of the members told me about the Bruderhof. He had spent some time with the Cotswold Community. When the war ceased the Friends’ Ambulance Unit disbanded. … I came to England, where I had been accepted for nursing training. I got into contact with the Bruderhof and visited in July 1948. … Recent contacts with various members of the Bruderhof who were visiting London brought me back to the community once more in January 1953, and during my two weeks’ stay I became convinced that only by living in community and sharing completely all goods, work, joys and sorrows can true brotherhood and peace be attained and a way found whereby mankind can be served in the most fundamental and thorough manner”
Keep In Touch Newsletter
Vol. XXIV No 1 April 2012
Andy Barth in Memory
By Margot Purcell Andy Barth, the oldest son of Jörg and Renate, died after falling on a job site. He was recovering, but less than twenty-four hours later he died very unexpectedly of a bilateral pulmonary embolism directly related to his injury. The family was told that he would not have had any warning symptoms. This was a great shock to his family and all who knew him. He will be greatly missed. THE OBITUARY AS LISTED IN THE LOCAL PAPER: “Andreas G. ‘Andy’ Barth, 53, of Friedens, PA. passed on Jan. 22, 2012, at Somerset Hospital. Born Dec. 9, 1958, in Primavera, Paraguay, he is the son of Jorg and Maria Renata (Zimmermann) Barth of Farmington. He is preceded in death by his infant brothers Georg and Gottlieb. Andy is survived by his parents; wife of 23 years Julie (Braun) Barth; children Tristan, Aaron, and Caroline Barth of Somerset and exchange student son Johannes Schmid of Mitterteich, Germany. “He also leaves nine brothers and sisters. John and wife Leisa of Friedens, David of Middleton, N.Y., Jorg and wife Mary of Robertsbridge, England, Elna Fischli and husband Andreas of Robertsbridge, England, Mike and wife Suzi of Somerset, Anna Tietze and husband Stefan of Beachgrove, England, Richard and wife Martha of Danthonia, Australia, Stephan and wife Esther of Farmington, and Martin and wife Eunice of Fox Hill, N.Y. Many uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews will miss him as well. “Andy was a 1976 graduate of Charleroi High School and a 1978 graduate of Penn St. Mont-Alto with an Associate's Degree in Forestry. Upon graduation he traveled six months in Europe and then spent several seasons as a grain combine operator in the Midwest. He then moved to Somerset and worked at Latuch Brothers Farms and the Ski Patrol at Hidden Valley, where he met his wife Julie. Andy became a real estate agent and worked for the Ken and Rita Halverson Brokerage of Coldwell Banker. He eventually became a certified real estate appraiser and opened Somerset County Appraisal Services. He became an Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic and went on to work for the Somerset Area Ambulance Association, Conemaugh Hospital, and Meyersdale Medical Center. He most recently was co-owner of ServPro of Somerset County and Westmont, as well as a partner in WQZS Radio in Meyersdale. “Andy was a hockey enthusiast, serving as a youth coach for all his children and playing in rec leagues throughout the area. He also coached soccer in the AYSO leagues in Somerset and played adult soccer in Ligonier. He was an avid golfer, and was a member of the Somerset Country Club and its Tuesday Night Golf League. He was a member and past president of the Somerset Jaycees, where he held numerous offices over the years, as well as a member of the Somerset County Chamber of Commerce. He attended Trinity Lutheran Church in Somerset. “Andy's family will receive friends from 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Miller Funeral Home and Crematory, Somerset. A service will be held at noon Friday at Trinity Lutheran Church in Somerset, Pastor Linda McElroy-Thomas officiating. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the Somerset Ambulance Assn. at 115 Wood Duck Road, Somerset, Pa. 15501 or the Somerset Jaycees Scholarship Fund at P.O. Box 421 Somerset, Pa. 15501.” WE DROVE DOWN TO SAY GOOD BY We met Andy, Julie and their three children in the early 1990's. They came to several of our annual picnics at Rocky Gap and
Ohiopyle (a park near New Meadow Run). I had not known Andy as a child, but did know his parents and grandparents. I enjoyed the times we met and had a chance to see his children grow. We were more in touch with Julie, as Andy had a busy schedule. We've enjoyed our contact with her. When Julie called about Andy's death, we drove out from Indiana. So my brother Adolf, my husband Blair and I had the privilege to join Andy's family in saying goodbye to him. Three of his brothers were there as well with their families. Two of them live in the immediate area, so they had been close to Andy and his family over the years. Jörg and Renate also had come the day before for a
Andy Barth as we know him.
family gathering before the public viewing and service. A lovely floral arrangement of yellow, blue and green flowers and a few pine cones had been ordered on their behalf. Andy was well known and liked by the local people. A steady stream of friends and business associates came during the six hour public viewing to pay their respects. Many had never met Julie and the children, but had been touched by Andy in some way. To me, Andy seemed like a shy, quiet fellow, so I was surprised at all he had accomplished. I knew that he worked hard and had many big and small ventures which interested him. He had a sweet, shy smile. The service for Andy was very simple. There were many floral arrangements which brought some cheer into the sadness. The minister wove a wonderful story of Andy's life out of tales shared by brother John and wife Julie – from his birth in Primavera to his life in Friedens and Somerset, Pennsylvania. During the service the sun broke through the clouds, lighting up the stained glass for a short time and then, as we left the church, a light snow was falling. Andy and Julie's three children are all in college now and have grown into wonderful young adults. I was so happy to see them again as we had not seen them in many years. We also had the pleasure of meeting Julie's brother and sisters and their families. There is a strong family bond which was good to see as that will be important in the weeks and years to come. Andy loved his family and they loved him too. His passing leaves emptiness impossible to fill.
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“I HAD NO IDEA HOW HARD HE WAS WORKING!” I asked Julie if there was anything that she wanted me to include. This is what she sent: “My only input might be that having just sent our youngest child off to college, it was just about time for Andy and I to start trying to find each other again and try to narrow down our path to retirement and adventuring into old age. It is something I had really hoped we would be able to move towards in the next few years, and it’s why he was working so hard – so that we could have a comfortable journey into our golden years. Maybe that sounds silly for being only 54 (me) and 53 (Andy), but that is what we were aiming for. And I am touched to be learning every day that he was really taking much better care of me and our children than he ever let on. I had no idea how hard he was really working, nor how much of himself he really gave in order to help others. And in hindsight, I am starting to see him as others did – he was like a big kid – literally dashing from one thing to another, trying to find fun in most everything he did – even the most unpleasant and mundane things.”
Laurenz Braun 1936 – 2011
By Hans Martin Laurenz Braun passed away on November 18 th, 2011 at the age of seventy-five. Lau as we used to call him was born on the Island of Crete, Greece, on April 10th, 1936. He was the oldest of six brothers and sisters. Three of them predeceased him. Shortly after Lau was born, his parents, Walter and Marei, joined the Bruderhof; I believe it was on the Almbruderhof. Laurenz was a very quiet kid, who easily got lost in the crowd.
Laurenz in 1969.
Laurenz and Mané Braun with their five children.
Laurenz Braun 2007.
(Photos submitted by daughter Ida.)
I remember the Braun family very well; Walter and Marei were good friends of my parents. I recall very clearly when we arrived in Paraguay and moved into the Halle (so we called the first four long buildings erected in Isla Margarita). We were neighbors of the Braun family, and since the narrow slots assigned to each family were divided only by sheets, there was not much privacy. I remember Lau and I would sneak out early
in the morning to go to Campo Riveroscué and search for mushrooms. Marei and Walter were of the very few who stayed in Paraguay after the Primevera community was dissolved. Laurenz went to Germany where he trained as a nurse and then returned to Paraguay. He married a Paraguayan girl, Mané, from Vacahú, a little village close to what used to be Primavera. Laurenz lived the rest of his life in Paraguay, first in Vacahú and the last years in Asunción. Lau and Mané had five children, Ida is the oldest, then Adriano, and the twins, Elisa and Elizabeth; they also adopted Eulalia. All of them are married and have children. I visited Marei and Walter a couple of times when they lived in Asunción, where Marei was teaching at the Goethe Institute, and Walter taught Latin to private students. They told me that they had left the Bruderhof to dedicate as much time as possible
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bekannten Vogel- und Frosch-Geräusche am Fluss. Jedes Mal wenn wir kamen, sagte Helly, „holt doch den Josua, er soll auch Freude haben“. Wir haben viel miteinander gesungen, und Willi Braun nahm das gern auf einer Kassette auf. Wir Bruderhöfer können ja bekanntlich gut singen und tun das auch gern. Ich fragte Helly einmal, ob ihnen das denn nicht zu viel wäre, da sagte sie „nein, wir haben viel mehr davon als Ihr denkt; kommt nur wieder!“ Mein Bruder Stephan Friedemann, seine Frau Karola sowie Kurti Zimmermann und seine Frau Brigitte hatten mit Helly noch einen Besuch Mitte Februar verabredet, das war nun leider nicht mehr möglich. Ich bin so dankbar, dass ich ihr noch zu Lebzeiten ein Dankeschön sagen konnte. Das war sicher auch im Sinn so mancher Paraguay-Reisender unter uns. Helly war eine tief gläubige Frau, und darf nun sehen was sie geglaubt hat.
Marei and Walter Braun remained in Paraguay with their sons.
to their children. They felt they had neglected them while living on the Bruderhof. Several years after Walters’s death in 1980, Marei rejoined the Bruderhof in England – shortly before her own death in 1987. Only his brother Simeon and sister Deborah, who is married to Johnny Mason, survive Laurenz. Deborah is the only one from the Braun family who remained on the Bruderhof. Grace, Fridreich and Hilarion predeceased him. – Lau’s children take care of Simeon and make sure he has everything he needs. He lives with their mother Mané in Tujango/Vacahú).
Translation by Linda Lord Jackson
Helly Braun Died Suddenly
By Irene Pfeiffer-Fischer To all who knew the couple who lived in Friesland, Helly and Willi Braun and who valued their warm hospitality: At the end of January I received a message from Tina Jaime with the news that Helly had died suddenly from an aggressive hepatitis attack. That touched me deeply, as just a short while ago, in mid January I had a long chat with her on the phone. My sister Änni was with us in Bremen at the time, and we both thanked Helly for all the many visits to her home, her hospitality and loving welcome. In 2001 a group of us were there, ten people in all; we slept on mattresses on the floor. We experienced the wonderful starry sky, and by the river we heard again the sounds of the birds and the frogs that were all so familiar to us. Whenever we visited, Helly would say: “Go and get Josua. He should also join in the fun.” We sang songs together and Willi Braun loved to record everything on his cassette player. It was well known that we Bruderhofers were good singers, and we much enjoyed doing so. I asked Helly once if it was not too much for her: “No, we get more out of it than you can imagine; just keep coming back!” My brother Stephan and Karola Friedemann, as well as Kurti Zimmermann and his wife Brigitte had arranged to visit Helly in February, but unfortunately it was no longer possible. I am so thankful that I was able to thank her before she died. Surely many of the Paraguayan visitors amongst us feel the same. Helly was a deep believer in her Faith, and will now be seeing her Faith fulfilled. THE BRAUNS OF FRIESLAND WERE GOOD FRIENDS By Hans Zimmermann On my first return trip to Paraguay in 2002 Wilhelm Fischer, Josua Dreher, Tina Jaime and I visited the Brauns in Friesland . We spent three days with them and they treated us ever so well. My camera was jammed, and Willy gave me his camera to take pictures during our stay, so all the pictures I took that year were taken with Willy’s camera. When we were leaving I wanted to compensate them for their hospitality but they refused. So I enclosed a 50-Dollar-bill in the camera before I gave it back to Willy. Many months later he found it when he opened the camera. They sent me a very nice thank you note. For many years the Brauns lived in the Krabbelhaus in Isla Margarita until it was destroyed by a rare tornado. I have a pic-
Helly Braun ist plötzlich gestorben
By Irene Pfeiffer-Fischer An alle, die das Ehepaar Helly und Willi Braun in Friesland kannten und ihre Gastfreundschaft schätzten: Ende Januar bekam ich eine SMS von der Tina Jaime mit der Nachricht, dass Helly ganz plötzlich an einer aggressiven Hepatitis verstorben ist. Das hat mich doch sehr betroffen gemacht, da ich Mitte Januar noch ein sehr langes Telefongespräch mit ihr führte. Meine Schwester Änni war gerade bei uns in Bremen, und wir beide dankten Helly für all die vielen Besuche in ihrem Haus, für ihre Gastfreundschaft und liebe Aufnahme. 2001 waren wir mit einer Gruppe von zehn Leutchen zu Besuch bei ihr und schliefen auf Matratzen am Boden. Wir erlebten den schönsten Sternenhimmel und all die uns so
Helly Braun (left) and her visitors Hans Zimmermann, Clementina Jaime and Jörg Mathis, 2007. (Photo: Hans Zimmermann)
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ture of Helly Braun from my visit in October of 2007 when Jörg Mathis, Tina Jaime and I paid her a short visit. By that time her husband Willy had passed away. Tina told us that Helly loved the song: “Grossmütterchen will tanzen, auf machet Platz,auf machet Platz". So we sang it on our arrival, this moved her to tears. Helly’s nickname among the Paraguayans was: “Helly palanate” – palante meaning loud speaker; she had a booming voice. I do not recall her ever talking in a whisper. Both of them were kind and generous, and it saddens me that I will not see Helly on my next visit, as the Brauns were always on my must-visit-list.
Ramon Sender became Emperor of The Realm on April 1st 2012
KIT. In our Newsletter of December 2008 (page 4) Ramon told us about his different alternate personae. One was his “Fools Day Persona,” and low and behold, on April 1st 2012 he retired as King Zero, and was elevated/recycled as Emperor of the Realm. This picture was taken at the Fools Day Parade in Ramon’s previous home of Occidental California (a tiny hamlet two hours north from San Francisco).
Zero the Wunderweight, Clown-atlarge, but emeritus mostly
Hutterites Have a Lot to Teach the Bruderhof
By Ruth Lambach With regard to stress, leadership, freedom, authenticity of interchange among people and between those on the inside and those on the outside, I believe Hutterites have a lot to teach the Bruderhof. Hutterites do not see themselves as creating a utopian society. They just attempt to live according to God's will and they know they do it imperfectly. In the Bruderhof though everyone must live up to some kind of inhuman standard of being at all times in unity and in the right spirit with each other. Even I, as an un-baptized person was asked what was bothering me, why didn't I laugh and play and participate in the volleyball game going on among other teenagers. Hutterites accept the fallibility of man. They accept individual diversity of opinion. There is always forgiveness. There are ritualized punishments for behaviors that are almost mechanically applied. The punishment is borne and the person comes back into full citizenship and the slate is cleared. I think this functions like the confessional in the Catholic Church; or in Chicago, paying $200 to get your towed car out from some out-of-the-way city parking lot. It's not an arbitrary application of punishment by a group of people. It is a perfunctory duty by the minister. The person in Strof confesses, he takes the requisite punishment; people gossip about it and wonder what the infraction was that causes him to have to eat by himself, sit by himself in church and not speak to anyone as he works. But, it is all washed over after the punishment is taken. In silence he regains his full standing membership. I have a specific memory of two young baptized men who sat by themselves in the entry way to the church, just across from the stove which heated the school house at Forest River. Everyone who went to church on Sundays twice, and during the week, once, saw these two young baptized but unmarried guys. I think we concluded that they went to a bar and talked to some loose girls on the outside. Maybe they did more than that, but we never knew. Three times a day they also sat in the bake-house and ate by themselves in silence. It all washed over after a couple weeks and we forgot about it, and pretty soon both guys got married and everything was settled. They even had a double wedding. This was before the Bruderhof arrived at Forest River. Talk to half a dozen Hutterites, you will get that many opinions. Talk to half a dozen baptized Bruderhof people and you will get an answer like that of a politician who speaks from a bullet-point agenda. That's the difference. Among Hutterites everyone knows the behavioral norms, as they are open, direct, simple and have been around for a long time with only minor changes which usually begin at the indivi-
The “Imperial Patent and Licence”:
“Waving The Imperial Plunger We Proclaim: By the authority vested in us, Emperor Zero II, we confer upon The Holder of this Imperial Patent all Rights and Appurtenances of Snigglehood, including hereby and forever the entitlement to walk barefoot, make friends with everyone and do anything else that brings fun, silliness, harmony, happiness, celebration, relaxation, health, love, joy, creativity, pleasure, abundance, grace, courage, balance, spontaneity, passion, beauty, peace, and life energy to thyself and all other beings everywhere. Furthermore, as a loyal subject of the Empire, thou art hereby officially authorized to jump in mud puddles, talk with animals, bugs, birds, trees, rocks, elves and sprites, and channel healing smiles in all six directions, demonstrating all the virtues and characteristics of Our Loyal and WellSniggled Subject. Always remember: Just Now is the place to be. Nothing could be more natural! Signed with the Royal Seal.” __________________________________________________ dual level rather than from the top of the hierarchy. Individuals matter a lot in a colony. It is at the individual level that innovation happens. Just as in a free capitalist society. When I go back to the colonies, I am amazed, surprised, and put to shame with my old fashioned ideas about how to be Hutterite. Hutterites have evolved in many ways. They change slowly rather than in a revolutionary manner. This is why I do not trust revolutions or upheavals which throw over centuries of culture but I do trust changes which allow for individual choice in minor ways: My mother's hair was never rolled down like other Hutterite women and her skirts were always at least two or three inches shorter than other Hutterite
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women – yet she remained in good standing. She might even have started the habit of tying her shawl behind her ears in the summertime rather than tying it under her chin.
Childhood Memories of Primavera, Paraguay
By Hans Zimmermann – Part 4 TRANSITION INTO THE WORK FORCE In December of 1954 I finished my nine years of Primavera schooling, ending with the Paraguayan national sexto grado which had become a requirement. This we had to do in Spanish and the tests were administered by Paraguayan teachers. The normal procedure was for the boys to move into an assigned department, be it the agricultural department, industrial workshop and mechanics, carpentry and building, or local transportation which was by horse or ox wagons – our main mode of transportation between the villages, the dairy or beef cattle herding, or the estancia. There were other sub departments, such as hogs, chicken raising, the slaughter house, and in Isla Margarita the wood turning shop. We also had two sawmills; one in Isla Margarita and the other in Loma Hoby. By 1955 we also had two or three tractors and trucks to haul freight to and from Primavera to Puerto Rosario, the river port. So there were quite a few areas one could work in; frequently some would overlap. I had no fixed idea as where I wanted to work, but deep down I longed to work with the cattle in the estancia. I always had a horse, either one which was given to me to nurse back into health from an illness, or even training new ones. The first week after school ended my parents sat me down one evening to discuss my future. I was told that the brotherhood felt that I was too small and fragile to do adult work and therefore it was suggested that I go to Asunción for further studies. My reaction was anything but favorable, not because I did not see the value of studying; rather I felt insulted to be told I could not do a man’s job. I flatly refused and insisted to be assigned to one of our work departments. Well, the decision was made to have me work with my father in the carpentry department, I wasn’t too happy about that either, but hoped for a transition from that sooner or later. So for the first six to eight months I worked with my father, building tables, work benches, doors and windows, etc. For the finished lumber we first had to go to Isla Margarita to select the needed boards, then run them through the planer and cut them to size. Each time I had to engage a horse and wagon team, which Albert Wohlfahrt
gladly provided. While still in school I frequently had to help Albert with the horses, maintenance of the wagons, such as greasing the wheels and cleaning the tack; these were our Saturday assignments, when we did not have to work in the gardens with Walter Hüssy or Bob Peck. Of my class mates, Paul Gerhard Kaiser was assigned to work with Bob Peck in the agricultural department, as he was already living with Bob Peck. Michael Caine worked with Albert Wohlfahrt and Walter Bennett with both the horse and ox teams doing transport of goods between the Höfe. While working with my father, the two of us also would explore the forest between Loma Hoby and the Mennonite colony for trees which could be harvested for lumber. My father wanted me to study forestry in which I had a definite interest, but the Bruderschaft saw little value in that and was not willing to send me to Germany to get a forestry education.
Hans Zimmermann with Pluto, 1956.
After finishing school I worked for some months with my father Kurt Zimmermann in the carpentry shop. (Photo: Colin Sharp)
TRAINING LESSONS IN PRIMAVERA As time passed by, I had second thoughts about not going to Asunción for further education, but by then the brotherhood was not going to send me anymore. So I requested to receive further education in cattle, horse breeding and agriculture in general. The brotherhood decided to have Jonny Robinson give me and Lienhard Gneiting a full afternoon of classes on these subjects once a week. Jonny had been a recognized agronomist in England before joining the community. In addition we had the opportunity to study chemistry with Eric Phillips each Saturday afternoon in Isla. So Verena Meier, who was working in the hospital laboratory, David Caine and I either rode on horseback to Isla Margarita, or we got the light spring wagon, for the trip. My main interest was in animal breeding so I applied all my energies to that. Jonny Robinson made it very interesting. To this day I’m familiar with most of the important cattle breeds throughout the world, also sheep and pig breeds. Since Jonny was doing a great job, later on more young men in Loma Hoby were enrolled in the program. The culmination of this class was a field trip to the Estancia Santa Virginia of the Serratis, where Daniel Meier had worked for almost two years. For us young men this was an exciting three-day-trip on horseback. It took one day to get there, at one point crossing open grass land which was two to three feet under water for nearly two miles. The next day we reviewed the cattle, (I was not impressed). On that trip however, the native cowboys or gauchos did tell me a thing or two about how to deal with my horse Pluto which I was still breaking in. Pluto was another guacho (orphan in Spanish), which I had taken over from Heiner Kleiner two years earlier. The members of the group were: Jonny Robinson, Daniel Meier, Bill Bridgwa-
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along Monte Abebo to Invernada, from there to Monte Jaime, ultimately a fence along Monte Jaime east to our boundary separating our property from Vacahú, and the property San Vicente of the De Stefano’s. To get the cattle out of the forests, we built funnels out of saplings with pointed ends. Cattle would squeeze through to get to the open campo to graze, but then could not get back into the forest. ADVENTUROUS FREE TIME ACTIVITIES After work three or four of us young men frequently grabbed a horse and would ride down to the River Tapiracuay to hunt yacarés (caimans) with flash light and harpoon. By the time we reached the river it would be dark. Aiming the flash light up and down the river we could see the red glowing eyes of the yacaré. I was the expert paddler moving the boat without making any noise, David Caine handled the flash light and Gabriel Arnold was the harpooner. We only went after yacarés with a length of five feet or more. One night we must have encountered a very large one. When Gabriel rammed the harpoon into the back, it nearly yanked him out of the boat, which was already tipping. We nearly flipped over when the harpoon broke – to my great relief. We did not land in the water. If the boat had tipped over, there would have been no choice but to drift the long way down the river in complete darkness to our landing place. We were up river from the Taufplatz. On another occasion, we encountered a group of carpinchos (capibaras) near Liverpool bend. Jose Melo, one of our lumberjacks and an enthusiastic hunter, was camped right there. We told him about the carpinchos sitting on the bank near the water, so he came into the boat with his Mauser rifle, I paddled back to the carpinchos and from fifteen feet or less he blew one away. We floated the animal back to his camp where he took it apart and we stayed for a carpincho stew. It was well after 2:00am by the time we were back to Loma Hoby. As a side show, we always had our dogs with us who frequently caught an armadillo on the way back which we then would fry in the kitchen before going to bed. We always had an appetite for meat regardless of what it was. One thing we young men liked to do was learn Paraguayan songs and music, so after dinner we would walk down to the gate house, near where all our Paraguayan workers were housed. These workers helped in the garden, clearing the forest for new crops or for meadows for our dairy cattle. The cowboys also lived in these quarters. Many Paraguayans play the guitar and love to sing. One of them, Domingo was very friendly and taught us many songs; he taught David Caine how to play the guitar. Domingo later joined the Bruderhof, however I believe his main objective was to marry one of our girls. When that did not seem a certainty for him, he went after a Paraguayan woman who was living on the Hof. After he got caught in one of his nightly visits, he was asked to leave. THE YOUTH GROUP WAS LARGE AND ACTIVE The large Loma Hoby youth group was very active. The age range was from the teenagers who recently graduated from school to some of the older members like Jacob Gneiting, Christoph and Peti Mathis, Juliana Alonso, followed by the next younger age group with Thomas Klüver and Sanna Kleiner, and the next one with Seppel Fischli, Karlemann Keiderling (Aka), Claire Beels, Emmy Zimmermann – down to our group, including, for instance, Gabriel Arnold, Susanna Fischli and Miriam Arnold. On some evenings we would leave the Hof to eat supper next to the woods down on Campo Guaná where we would engage in folk dancing on the smooth short grass, light a bonfire and sing all the wonderful hiking, nature and love songs in both
Heinz Bolk, another wagon driver, lived in Isla Margarita. (Photo: Colin Sharp)
ter (then known as Ingmar Wingard), Lienhard Gneiting, Michael Caine, Josua Dreher, and myself. In those days Michael Caine was already full of stories and jokes and he had Jonny keeling over with laughter, as he imitated some of our Bruderhof members. We had a jolly good time to say the least. In May 1956, a group of young men were sent to the Forest River community in USA: Peti Mathis, Heiner Kleiner, Michael Caine, Ian Cocksedge, Jerry Marchant, and Karlemann Keiderling. This move required a rotation of people among the various departments. After Michael Caine left the carting department, I was assigned to work with Albert. There were at least four teams of horses and two teams of oxen. I did not care to work with the oxen and preferred the horses. Our daily routine was to cart goods between the Höfe, pick up the freshly dug up mandioca, and dump it at the Brüderrat circle for the brothers to peel, cut fodder for the horses, cart manure from the cow stall and horse stalls onto the fields as fertilizer for our vegetable gardens. Once a week a fattened pig had to be hauled to the slaughter house, which meant you had to load it onto the wagon and then cart the screaming porker across the village to its demise. At that time pigs lard was our main cooking ingredient, and of course we spread the lard onto our bread, butter was a rarity. On occasion when there was too much rain and the roads to Rosario were impassable for the trucks, we had to make the trek by horse wagon, which was at a minimum a two days affair. This might sound exciting but really was a drag, and the horses were put under severe stress. I do however remember one enjoyable trip, this one was with Heiner Kleiner (this was before he left for USA): On the return trip we had beautiful moonshine, so we were singing into the night, arriving in Loma Hoby around 3:00am. FENCING IN THE FORESTS WITH IRUNDAIMÍ WOOD Near the end of 1956 my friend Gabriel Arnold had come back from Argentina where he’d been sent because he had shown too much interest in one of the young girls. Gabriel was assigned to work in the dairy and also carting Irundaimí fence posts from the forests around Ibaté to the Campo Invernada, as a fence was drawn from Monte Abebo to Monte Jaime so as to have better control over the wild cattle, sagua-ás or mañeros as the natives called them. The selection of Irundaimí wood was vital since the fence was drawn through swamp and that wood resists wet ground more than Lapacho or Curupaí. Back from USA, Peti Mathis asked me to inspect all the fence post to be sure they were Irundaimí. I have always been interested in the Paraguayan hard woods and could tell them apart. We were on a big fence building tear, fencing in Campo Guaná, then installing a fence
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German and English. Those were really wonderful times, and you could feel love in the air. Each year the youth group would make at least one major trip into the surrounding area, or as far away as the German Colony, Colonia Independencia near Villa Rica. This university town was at that time second largest city in Paraguay. TRIP TO THE WATERFALL NEAR SANTANÍ 1956
good news was we only had to go about one mile up a gradual rise to our destination. This road got very little use as there were no villages or farms for many, many miles, so we met no travelers. We would be in total isolation. To the left a creek ran with reasonable flow, and sure enough near the top of the hill we found the waterfall. I don’t have a clue what this place was called by the locals. The water flowed over sandstone. Over the years it had carved a deep chasm, narrow crack fifteen to twenty feet deep. One could climb down, and it opened like a wide cave with a sandy bottom. The mist blocked the sun and created a crepuscular atmosphere, damp and cool, a perfect escape from the burning heat above. Here we spent two days, frolicking around the waterfall, exploring the steep banks of the Tapiracuay twenty feet or more below. We toppled termite hills which rolled in big leaps down the hill crashing into the water below. It was a relaxing few days, with lots of singing, some book reading and not a single person coming up or down that isolated road. The return trip followed the same pattern, at the end of the first day a rest at the Tapiracuay by Doña Antonina, then the next day making the last leg through Vacahú, Carolina, and then back to Primavera and Loma Hoby. It was a long hot day. you forget the last few miles. The next few days we had to do the obligatory telling of the event at meal times.
The Loma youth group having a meal and fun – before continuing on to the waterfall.
One trip of which I have fond memories was to a waterfall on a tributary of the Tapiracuay River in the hills many miles northeast of Santaní. The whole Loma Hoby youth group set off at dawn, with three horse and mule wagons loaded with all the provisions we would need for a week’s stay out in the woods and fields. Most everyone was walking except those who drove the wagons and one or two who were not so steady on their feet. We had to keep a steady pace in the hope of reaching the Tapiracuay ford at Doña Antonina, mostly known to us as the Floh Tante, by late afternoon. Here – next to the river – we would stay overnight in her enclosed paddock, where the animals could graze. We took a swim in the river which was flooded up to the bottom of the bridge. After dinner around a fire, and the usual singing, we soon went to sleep. Next morning no one could sleep long. The roosters were crowing, dogs barking, ours included, and pigs, chicken and ducks were running through our camp. It was best to get up, have breakfast and get ready for the next leg of the trip. Santaní was six to seven miles up the road. We did not stop in town other than to get directions how to get to the waterfall. We continued on a little traveled road which ran a short distance from the river Tapiracuay snaking along chacras (farms) and fields. North-east to the left, the forested hills seemed to rise high and higher. By around 11:00am we rested the horses in a shallow river taking cover under trees from the burning sun, and had a short snack. Continuing on, we asked locals how much longer we had to go. They just would say another mile or two, the standard Paraguayan information. Our animals started to show the strain of the long trip. Luckily the road was mostly sandy which made it easier for our feet, as everyone was walking barefoot. Well by around 2:00pm we finally reached the turn off to the left. That meant we had to cross the swollen Tapiracuay River. The water was four to five feet deep, and everything in the wagon would get wet. The solution: We carried our entire luggage through the water above our heads! With two dozen people or more that was quickly accomplished. Next the animals had to be persuaded to ford the river, pulling the wagons. With the encouragement of a cracking whip this was fairly easy done. Now the
On our way back home we stopped for a short rest on bridge near Doña Antonia’s place.
LEARNING TO BREAK IN HORSES The Loma Hoby horse stables were next to the cow stalls, and the estancia in back opened up onto the paddock Piqueteí. George Mercoucheff (Verones) was working with the dairy cows and also helping out with the beef cattle which we called the estancia. George was the ultimate horseman, and I watched every move he made. In Loma Hoby we had two beautiful white mares, one was named Victoria, Vicki for short, which always had to be ready and available in case Cyril Davies had to dash off for a medical emergency to Isla Margarita, Ibaté or even one of our neighbors, be it Paraguayan or the Mennonites in Friesland. When this happened Cyril would leave at a full gallop and rode the horse mercilessly, making time was so important. The other horse was there for Dr Jury Popov, so this mare was called Popova. Dr. Popov was not there anymore, so Popova was bred to our Arab stallion and the result was a beautiful white filly. I believe she was called Popova dos (Popova 2nd). She was just turning four years old and George was going to break her in for riding. George showed me how to fashion a bocado, which is used instead of a metal bit to avoid hurting the sensitive gums of a new horse. This is a method still used these days in Paraguay. George was my role model and we were good friends. He taught me a lot about riding and breaking in new horses. To be continued
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Vol. XXIV No 1 April 2012
8. Oh Heart, Where Are You Going
By Susanna Alves – Part 2 Matters of Friendship This “friendship” issue just didn’t leave her in peace. Back again in her daily Asunción routine, she thought and searched and was obsessed for an answer. She felt like walking in circles. Should she give up? Or was there an answer? Where, with whom could she find it? And if there was none, would there be someone to tell her? She would end up making a total fool of herself with this maddening desire to have a “friend”! And why was the urge so strong these last days? It had always been there, but never like this. Was this because she was tired, which made her more emotional, the urgency of the wish then getting stronger? She noticed that since being haunted by these thoughts, she had become moody. During a Gemeindestunde-meeting one evening she opened up her inner self and listened, and learned to let go, to let it fall into the hands of the One who could and would redeem. Only time would answer her quest. Once she grasped this, she saw peace return. As yet there was no answer, but the torment began to change. Now she began to wait.
if it were not for her scruples, she could very soon have a friend... But she knew that it was all in God’s hands, and she would wait for His answer. She was sure He would give it. When and how, that would be at His discretion. And so it should be. She had a long conversation with Werner the next day. She had reached the point where she had to talk, and it helped to concentrate her thoughts. She wanted Rupert’s friendship, but the fear was this: The longings and yearnings for much more than friendship dwelt alongside this search for just a friend. What restrained her was the dread that the former would become predominant. Then it all came tumbling down “Simone, do you have a moment, for me, now?” It was Rupert asking. He, Barbara and Simone just had a brief pre-Sunday-lunch chat at the front wall of the Upper House, where everybody liked to gather, to chat, to watch the street goings-on or pry into the neighbour’s windows across the street. Barbara was just leaving. “Yes, of course.” Simone replied. She was curious. As soon as Barbara was out of earshot, Rupert said: “Don’t you think that it is going a bit too far between us?” Simone felt as if something had hit her over the head. Had she heard right? “Can you say that again?” she asked, flabbergasted. He did. This time she heard it quite clearly: “I have the feeling that things are going a bit too far between us.” She was stunned. “I don’t know – what do you mean?!” she stuttered. “Ach,” he said, shrugging his shoulders, “maybe I’m mistaken, maybe you haven’t noticed.” Simone stared at him. So he continued: “I don’t know how to explain, it is – just so.” All of a sudden there was a rushing sound in Simone’s head, her surroundings floated away, the ground was caving in. But she heard herself speak: “Can we talk about this, please, somewhere else? Where there are fewer people maybe?” “Yes of course.” He sounded perfectly calm. As they walked away, she felt her steps hitting the ground with a thud, as if she was pushing each foot through the air with some force. Behind the house, at the back of the garden by the stone benches, there were even more people milling around. “Let’s walk round the block,” Rupert suggested. She nodded and they turned round. As Simone descended the steps to the street she felt like sleepwalking, although she was taking in every detail. Her forehead was icy cold, but was this joy, fear or just excitement? There was a vague sense of alarm about it – the dizziness, the weird feeling of distance from everything – she didn’t understand what caused this to happen. As they walked away, someone called after them, “Hey you, we’re having lunch in a minute!” They ignored it. It didn’t even occur to Simone that half the household was at that front wall seeing them go off together down the street, offering food for gossip. They had turned right, and anyone who saw them knew that whatever their joint business, it had nothing to do with usual pursuits, because walking north from that front door lead to nothing but residential areas, quite unconnected with any of the Bruderhof house activities. It didn’t matter. At that moment, all Simone wanted was to finally talk about everything. So as soon as they turned the first corner, she began. “You know,” she said, and her voice sounded perfectly normal, “you have touched on a raw spot. For weeks I’ve felt in-
It was during those days that Werner Frischman arrived in Asunción, to stay for a couple of weeks. She was glad. He and his wife Laura were like surrogate parents to her. One afternoon, he invited Simone and Liese, his daughter, out for a nice meal, which was always a very special treat. Liese and Werner had dropped by at the office, where Simone was working, to ask if she was coming. Suddenly the overwhelming wish to stay in welled up in her. Without really knowing why, she found an excuse and thanked them, saying she’d rather stay at home. Only later did she understand why: She definitely, absolutely didn’t want to go out. There was something that compelled her to stay home. And if she were honest, it was Rupert. She could hear her heart saying, over and over: Rupert is the one. He is the “friend” you’re looking for. Go and find him. Oh, she wanted to “find” him, how she wanted to “find” him! But equally she was so afraid. There was a huge feeling of dread. She hadn’t got the guts. For example: After supper, Barbara, John, Rupert and Simone had gone into town for a stroll. At the central plaza they sat down for a smoke. The park bench was just right to accommodate all four. Rupert, John, Barbara and Simone, in that order they sat. Simone wanted so much to get up, go to Rupert’s end of the bench, say, “Move over,” to sit down next to him. But she didn’t. She just didn’t have the courage. Why it was Rupert to whom she was drawn in this search for a “friend”, and not to John, was a mystery. With John she was sure that he’d be delighted. But with Rupert there was “something else”. Their eyes met frequently. She saw openness in them, no trace of anything else but friendship. And this inner voice told her loudly that Rupert also had a wish for such camaraderie. When Barbara had asked Rupert after supper, would he come and walk with them, Simone had been a little anxious that he’d refuse. But he said, “I feel honoured.” Of course he meant it as a joke, but deep down he probably really did feel honoured. When Simone teased him, saying, “Rupert, I hear it is an honour to join us for a stroll,” he laughed, but his eyes confirmed that he felt gratified. She had felt so happy! Simone wanted so much to overcome this stupid hesitation toward Rupert. She got quite trembly when she told herself that
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credibly bothered, I don’t know – it’s a bit difficult to explain. And then I might not even be talking about the same thing. But let me try. Let’s see. Well, maybe I have to go back in time.” While she spoke, she was acutely aware of her physical self within their surroundings, and of Rupert the young man walking at her side. She had by now regained some composure. She saw everything, smelled the neighbours’ lunch-time smells on the breeze, heard the distant hum of traffic, the occasional hooting of a car, and the sound of their own feet walking the pavement. The leafy street lay in dappled sunshine. An elderly, well-dressed woman wearing a black lace scarf on her shoulders was slowly walking on the opposite pavement returning home from Sunday mass. In the background the clatter of kitchen utensils was heard as maids were singing and laughing while tending to their duties in the houses of the rich of this city area. It looked and sounded like a completely normal autumn Sunday in May. And still something was strangely different. “Since I was twelve years old,” she heard herself saying, while all these impressions flooded her consciousness, “I always had a desire, a yearning for a friend. A friend, nothing more, you know. Since then, I have looked for him, most of the time unconsciously but in the past weeks again quite deliberately. Sometimes the yearning gets stronger, at other times it’s weaker. And strangely, since the trip to the Campamento – no, even before – it has been so strong again.” She stopped to moisten her lips. The words had been tumbling out a bit breathlessly. They were now approaching the next corner, always walking slowly, because they wanted lots of time before returning to the house. A group of young city folk came walking towards Rupert and Simone, but their expressions revealed nothing at seeing the two of them in such earnest conversation. So Simone continued. “Since our outing to the Campamento, I had this idea, this notion, that you...” She paused. It wasn’t easy to say it, just like that, straight from the heart. She suddenly felt a bit shy. “This feeling, you know, that it might be you, this friend for whom I’d been waiting forever.” She fell silent. Rupert had turned his face away and she wondered why. But it was only for a moment. He turned to look ahead again, and began cautiously: “Well, yes. I noticed that something was going on. But I thought it was actually something different.” “Well it wasn’t,” she interrupted hastily, defensively. “I wanted so much that you should be my friend.” And after a pause, now with more measure: “But there was also fear. You know, with me, I very easily get feelings which are more than friendship. So on the one hand this frightens me, but on the other –.” And with a gesture of helplessness with her hands, “On the other, you see, I did want so much that you were a friend, my friend.” After a thoughtful silence Rupert spoke: “Strange, but I too have this yearning for a friend. No, it is actually better described as a sister. But I have the same problems. The emotions for something more than just a friend, they are so close by all the time that I see danger; because that is not what I want. You know,” he said, with a change in tone – trying to sound more up– beat, she thought, but she caught a slight catch in his voice – “when it was announced that your family will move to El Arado in Uruguay I felt a sudden rush of alarm, a kind of, ‘Oh no, will Simone go too?’ I suddenly knew how I really felt about you. So, asking myself how come, it looked to me like you and I were having something like a relationship. Just mere eye contact was feeding these thoughts and feelings. So I decided it is high time to put an end to it.”
Rupert paused. This time it was Simone who looked away. The word relationship sounded horrible – it hurt! But she didn’t mean it like that!, she thought defiantly. She felt her stomach knotting up. And she thought that this was going to be the lovely beginning of a friendship, and here he brings a so-called relationship to an end! It was a bit amazing, to say the least. They were certainly coming from different points and heading in different directions. They had by now reached the third street corner but instead of walking on they turned round and retraced their steps. It allowed them more time. “So what do you propose now?” she asked. “Do you believe we break it all off here? I don’t want it to end right now. I so much want a friend, you know. And don’t you think, now that we know about each other and how it must not be, can’t it be possible that we be friends, honestly?” She thought her voice had gone from slightly defiant to more of a plea. “Yes, maybe you’re right,” he replied. He didn’t sound too certain, but went on: “But only if we’re quite clear what real friendship is.” Simone suddenly saw one of the Bruderhof house boys turning the corner, walking in their direction. Why should he walk this part of the street just now?, she thought with unease. But it was too late, he had already seen them. “What I would like,” Rupert said after a pause, ignoring the boy as he walked past them, “what I would really like so much is a sister, a sister very close to me. There has always been this longing. My own sister Jessica has just not wanted to become close.” The conversation was finally taking an easier turn. “You know, that is exactly the problem I have with my brothers,” Simone said quickly. “Peter never comes to me on spiritual matters, Martin doesn’t want to talk with me at all about such things, and Anton even less. Well, to be fair, Anton is still pretty young, and isn’t even here in Asunción; and the rest are all still far too young.” They hadn’t yet exhausted all they wanted to say, but just round the corner was the house. Rupert now leant against a brick wall while she stood facing him; a group of strangers walked by. Their casual glances did not betray surprise at seeing the two. Why am I constantly wondering about this? Simone thought. Why should people be surprised to see a girl and a boy talking on the street? Do I actually expect them to expect that we should be touching? But why? Surely it is obvious by their unquestioning acceptance of our non-behaviour that not everybody is the same. … But she tore her thoughts away and brought them back to where she was, with Rupert. “How is it then,” she said out aloud, “do you think we can be friends, or brother and sister, if you like? I think the main thing is that we don’t allow any thoughts and wishes other than those of friendship.” “Yes, all right then,” he said, “but if we notice that it’s happening we must say it right away and end the whole thing – or at least break it off for a while.” “Okay, let’s make a deal. The one who notices it first raises the flag, and the other shall be entitled to an honest comeback.” While she said this, she was crushing bits of broken pavement with her shoe. Rupert laughed at the metaphor. “It’s a deal.” There was a short pause. “Ach”, he then said, “actually I’m awfully glad that we talked about it in this frank way.” Simone nodded. So they began their move back to the house. They walked in silence. There was nothing more to be said.
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* The midday meal had started. Simone made an effort to behave as if nothing had happened. But it was difficult to pay attention to what was being read. It looked like Rupert was having similar trouble. Time and again she had to pinch herself and not sit absent-mindedly. However, Rupert’s words were going round and round in her head. It felt like running in thought-circles. “Don’t you think it’s going too far between us? ...” This one got stuck. She had to force herself to eat. She felt physically unwell. There was a kind of painful void inside her, impossible to describe. During siesta she tried to sleep, but couldn’t. She tossed and turned; in vain. What is the matter? She thought desperately, is there more than I wish to admit? Well, is there? – No, no! – Impossible! But the thought tormented her. She got up again. It was unbearable. She now had this growing feeling that she hadn’t told Rupert clear enough what she really meant by “friendship”, and how she wanted both of them to see it. She thought, we spoke far too much about our weak points. I must have another chat with him. After vesper she was in the kitchen. Rupert walked past. “Can we have another short talk,” she asked, “sometime soon?” “Como no.” “We have some guests now, but as soon as they’re gone, let’s?” “Okay. I’ll be in my room. Just call me.” Then she had to toil through the visit. Oh why don’t you go away!, she was thinking, ach, why did you have to come today of all days? During the next two hours she agonised. Tormenting feelings were flooding her, her physical state tormented her, the conversation – oh so banal – tormented her. The guests left at last. She went promptly to call Rupert, but again a largish group was by the front wall nearby, and she did not want to knock on his door in front of all those people. What would they think? She walked away to survey the area at the back of the house; it seemed to be milling. Once up the steps and into the grounds, she sat down by the stone benches. She didn’t know what to do. However, Rupert soon found her. She smiled awkwardly. It was embarrassing. She couldn’t say there were too many people – they were sitting right next to her. So he left again without a word. And her agonies continued. She joined the ongoing game of volley ball a bit later, but in vain. She felt too sick to enjoy it. Then she decided to be quite firm and to just do it. As she went to call Rupert, she thought, now or never, Simone! There was now only one person sitting by the front wall, near Rupert’s quarters. She didn’t care if she was seen. She resolutely went to his door and knocked. He came out. “Vamos,” she said, “you have seen the crowds. Let’s go round the block once more.” He laughed. “I want to keep this brief,” she began. “It’s that I got uneasy. I had the impression that we majored on all the things that might destroy our friendship and hardly on the positive side. I don’t know...” She was anxious, “Did you actually understand what I meant? What my yearning is?” They were walking the same route as in the morning. But he reassured her that he’d understood and that she shouldn’t worry. She heaved an inner sigh of relief and out aloud she said: “Jesus must be the centre of our friendship. That’s the only way it’ll be possible at all. We want a pure, open friendship, trust in each
other, and when one of us has a problem, the other will help and not look away from mistakes and weaknesses.” * That evening during the Gemeindestunde Rupert said: “I have felt God’s love so strongly today and would like to thank Him.” Those words of his at last calmed her down. Yes, God’s love gave them their gift today. May they be strong and keep it pure. But the Excitement Continues A week had passed since Simone’s great experience, when she found herself one evening in the small Servant-of-the-Word hut which sat on the spot where the old metal tower used to be. She was writing in her diary. Sitting at the small table next to her was Rupert. She was somewhat nervous about it. No, truthfully, excited would be the right word. All her senses were vibrating. She was constantly reminded of her “prince”, the one she had been trying to “de-enchant” for years, yearning to find him, only to discover that although her cords within were singing sweetly, yet from the heart opposite not a sound, not the remotest echo. Now she was again resonant, but this time there was a reply, and it sounded more like an orchestra to her. Simone had recently opened up to Werner about everything. She had been in a horrendous state, felt too unwell. There had been this awful, pulling sensation, quite painful actually. She could call it desire or longing, but that didn’t describe it at all. She tried to explain to Werner: How she trembled, waves of tremors shaking her as if she had a high fever. And Werner had said, “But it is love.” She couldn’t believe it when he said that, and she didn’t agree with him. Because that was exactly what she didn’t want. A friend that was what it was. But she was upside-down, standing on her head, so-to-say, and so it was quite possible that Werner was right. In a way, if she was in love, this would be quite dreadful. She knew herself. She knew how she liked to think and feel about the young man of her choice, whenever she fancied one. A typical sign was her enjoyment of fantasies. She’d give herself “permission” to indulge in romantic feelings, allowing them to roam and wander their uncontrolled ways. At night, in bed, her fantasies constructed scenes of being intimate with her current “idol”. She even imagined herself with “him” in bed. So far, this “person” had always been faceless, because she knew that what she was doing here was a sin. It was always simply “he”. That way, she could feel less guilty. But she really didn’t fantasise like that very often, she reassured herself. And whenever temptation beckoned, she’d pull herself together. Ach, she did have to admit that sometimes it was dreadfully difficult. She’d press her eyes shut very tightly, force herself to switch off all thoughts, fantasies and anything else, it didn’t matter, as long as she switched off completely. After a while it would feel as if she’d wiped clean her inner slate. Even so, at times this system didn’t work. Then she’d drop everything she was doing, to go and talk to someone, or make herself a cup of mate tea. She felt very lucky. She had the gift of total concentration. When she read, sang, chatted, worked, but especially while reading, the world could go under and she wouldn’t notice. She used this as a tool to take her mind off temptation. And when she felt that she was all right again, she’d go back and start afresh with whatever she was doing earlier. But where was she –. Ah yes. Werner. She had told him everything. They talked till late. She managed to calm down then and feel some relief. But
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hardly had fifteen minutes passed, and everything was back again in full force, all that trembling and shivering. Later, in the Gemeindestunde meeting, Berthold, their visiting Servant-of-the-Word, was reading, but she couldn’t follow one word. She couldn’t think one straight thought. All the time,
fragments of sentences from her conversations with Rupert and Werner floated through her mind. The sentence haunting her most, and ever more strongly, was Rupert’s “Don’t you think that it is going a bit too far between us”. This “it”! To be continued Next issue: Sept. 2012
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Nadine Pleil’s Autobiography Translated into German
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