This is an independent blog and is not affiliated with any particular church, group or conference. The term Bruderthaler refers to a specific ethnic or cultural Mennonite heritage, not to any particular organized group. All statements and opinions are solely those of the contributor(s). Blog comprises notebook fragments from various research projects and discussions. Dialogue, comment and notice of corrections are welcomed. Much of this content is related to papers and presentations that might be compiled at a future date, as such, this blog serves as a research archive rather than as a publication. 'tag

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sun and Water by Rachael Traeholt

ne Äwaschwaminj

Spring 2013 followed a drought in 2012 with small floods along the legacy Mennonite territories from Chinook and Lustre - Volt, Montana along the Montana - Saskatchewan border, to the Souris River Valley between Walhalla, North Dakota and Winkler and Gretna, Manitoba, north to the great rivers feeding into Winnipeg's historic Forks.

The following are additional photographs from unusually heavy rains the second to last week of May, 2013 (all photos (c) Rachael Traeholt, 2013).

Friday, May 24, 2013

An On-Line Conversation re Baptists and Anabaptism

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Daud and the Soldier


Only A Boy Named Daud song lyrics and actions:

Only a boy named Daud (make a small person with hands)
Only a little sling (swing arm around at ear)
Only a boy named Daud (make a small person with hands)
But he did pray and sing (pray with hands and then raise hands into air)
Only a boy named Daud (make a small person with hands)
Only a rippling brook (move fingers like playing a piano)
Only a boy named Daud (make a small person with hands)
But five little stones he took (show five fingers)
And one little stone went in the sling (take one hand into the other hand)
And the sling went round and round (swing arm around at ear)
And one little stone went in the sling
And the sling went round and round (swing arm around at ear)
And round and round
And round and round
And round and round and round!
And one little stone went up in the air – oop, oop, oop, oop, oop –  (move hands up into the air)
And the giant came tumbling down! (fall down)

42 The soldier looked Daud over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. 43 He said to Daud, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the soldier cursed Daud by his gods. 44 “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!”
courtesy The Guardian
45 Daud said to the soldier, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the soldier's army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”  
48 As the soldier moved closer to attack him, Daud ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the soldier on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. 
5So Daud triumphed over the soldier with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the soldier...  (1 Samuel 17:42-50, based on NIV)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Coming to Terms

Mennonitas learning Spanish, courtesy Excelsior News.
Ne Sproak School     
(from Excelsior News)

    It seems that Mexico’s Mennonites, many of whom left Canada due in part to language assimilation pressures in the public schools, have finally decided to come to terms with this past… coming terms in Spanish.

    At a time when speculations rests regarding the future of Mennonites in Mexico, Excelsior News reports that Chihuahua’s Mennonites are now enrolling in Mexico’s public school programs in order to learn Spanish.

    Excelsior indicates that over one hundred Mennonites have enrolled in primary and secondary school programming through Chihuahua Institute of Adult Education (ICHEA). 

    Mennonites are feeling the need to learn Spanish in order to obtain official identification papers for passports and to establish business and bank accounts. 

    But, it seems that Spanish is also being used increasingly to communicate with non-Mennonite employees, encouraging these employees also to learn formal Spanish and to complete their education in order to facilitate friendships, business connections and the ability to communicate.

    Excelsior indicates that Mennonites began attending ICHEA courses in 2012, beginning with a group of about 20 farmwives and shortly including several couples and Mennonite school teachers.  Though mostly Mennonite women are studying Spanish with fewer men.

    Daicy Mauricio Gallegos, a volunteer teacher, describes her students as follows, “Son muy metódicos, les gusta estudiar a conciencia libro por libro; saben leer y escribir, pero como no dominan el español, tienen dificultades para entender las preguntas de los exámenes, así que decidieron estudiar desde el nivel inicial (alfabetización).” (Excelsior, see link).

    The Mennonite students are very methodical, and conscientiously study their books.  They can both read and write but are not as fluent when speaking Spanish and often have difficulty understanding the test questions.  For this reason, I start them at the basic level.”

    In reading this story, one can help but be amused at the turn of events whereby so many of us have volunteered to help teach Mexican immigrant families English and how test questions seem to be especially difficult to comprehend / translate.   Perhaps the world is not so large after all.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

More Fraud Against Mennonite Settlers

Griselda Pastén Cladia Alarcon
Federal Attorney Arrest Related to Fraudulent Land Titles

   Bolivian Treasury official, Griselda Pastén Cladia Alarcon, was taken into custody by Bolivian police today and charged with defrauding Mennonite settlers of up to $800,000 (US). 

    Impacted settlements include the Manitoba settlement and Stones II, both located in San José de Chiquitos.  According to prosecutor, Angel Alvarez, charges include aggravated fraud, material misrepresentation, falsification, forgery and extortion.

    As legal adviser to the National Institute of Agrarian Reform (INRA), Pastén charged the Mennonites $800,000 to consolidate, clear title and transfer 20,000 hectares (about 50,000 acres or 77 square miles) of state owned land.

   In March, the Mennonites hired Alberto Toranzo to represent their claims against Pastén to Bolivian authorities.

    According to the documents forwarded to national lawmakers in the Bolivian House of Representatives, Pastén seems to have charged for illegal and unnecessary fees and forging President Evo Morales’ signature on two land titles.  Included in the documents were bank statements proving the $800,000 transaction.

    In March of this year, quotes Toranzo, “En el año 2010 la señora Claudia Griselda Pastén trabajando en la Dirección Jurídica del INRA nacional visita la ciudad de Santa Cruz y sonsaca en varias oportunidades a dos colonias menonitas, Manitoba y La Piedras alrededor de 450 mil dólares para saneamiento de sus tierras, tengo en mis manos varios depósitos hechos en la cuenta de la señora Claudia Pastén, en tres cuentas de tres Bancos,

    Or roughly, “In 2010, Claudia Pastén, an attorney with the Bolivian INRA, visited Santa Cruz and asked the Mennonites of the Manitoba and The Stones colonies for $450,000 in order to clear title to their land.  I have in my hands bank receipts for deposits made into three bank accounts registerd to Ms. Pastén.”

    About 650 Russian Mennonite families are impacted by the fraud.

    I have been unable to determine whether or not any displacement of those Mennonite families has been demanded or has occurred. 

Mennonite in Santa Cruz, Bolivia Image Courtesy Radio Fides

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