On October 21, 2014, my family and I visited the Pempena Hutterite Colony. Being invited is a rare and unusual for most “outsiders”. In the colony we learned how they operate under the “Boss”, how the children grow within the colony walls and how they earn money.
How the colony operates is that everyone pitches in their time for the welfare of the colony. The girls work in the kitchen from the age of 15 to 45. Ladies above the age of 45 usually retire and tend to their own gardens and quilting businesses.
The Boss keeps all the money made by the colony through agriculture, hand-made items and animal products. He pays all the bills, including medical payments and for the land that the colony lives on.
The church seating is divided by gender and the youngest of the gender sit in the back and the age progresses until the eldest sit in the front row. The preacher speaks his sermons in High German, as does the worship. The morning service is called a Lehr while an evening service is called a Gebet.
These services happen every day throughout the week. A rule within the church is to never bring your Bible to church. The members of the colony must rely sole on the preacher and what he has to say.
The colony use state-of-the-art equipment for their animals and agriculture. Their cows are fed through machine which shoots the straw through a window above the animals. The geese are maintained by fences and the thousands and thousands of chicken are kept in carefully preserved coops. Their laundry is done by the most modern washing machines in this age. The colony shares the Laundromat by keeping a schedule for each family to take care of the colonies laundry for a week, then it rotates to the next family.
The Hutterite children are babysat by older siblings/elder relatives until the age of 5. From that age on, they are sent to the private school within the colony and are taught English by government paid teachers, during the morning hours. They are then taught in High German until the afternoon where they again taught in English. By the time they are 10, they will know two languages.
The children eat in separate dining rooms from the adults and are instructed by a rotating adult in the ways of proper manners and use of silverware. Every meal, one child stands from his/her seat and recites a German prayer on the wall. Then they partake of their meal and are released to watch their younger siblings so their parents can eat.
When a boy or girl turns 15 they are able to leave the children’s eating area and to eat with the adults. The men sit on one side of the room, and the ladies on the other. So a new 15-year-old boy would sit at the end of the table, where the eldest man at that table would sit across from him. The second youngest would sit next to the new adult and the sitting would progress depending on the age. The teenagers are usually visiting other colonies during the weekend, which ends with them finding their future spouse. If a man would want to marry a woman he’d have to be baptized with sprinkling of water in the church.
In conclusion, through this intriguing experience I have learned much of the Hutterite colonies way of financial stewardship, pediatric conducts and religious service oversight. This has been very helpful in my world view and will stay with me for the rest of my days.
This happened on Monday