Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Produced and edited by Daniel Supervielle
The visit to the Amish Country in the State of Ohio was really weird. In the middle of a prosperous agricultural region of the richest country in the world, a group of religious people live without electricity, ride on buggies, use no cellular phone and don´t even consider the chance that Charles Darwin might have been right. They don´t vote, harvest the crops with their own hands and have a strong sense of belonging to their religion and community.
The pastor Lester Beachy received my colleagues and I from SUSI 2016 one beautiful sunny morning at the beginning of the summer. The land that surrounded us was green. And the light was clear and pure. We could feel the clear air gently blowing at our faces while in the road nearby carriages pulled by beautiful horses rode their way back home with blue eyed blond boys and girls saluting us.
I felt a sense of double feelings.
How can this people live in the XXI century? They spoke about time. Ruby, the calm old lady that spoke to us before the wise pastor said that they choose how to live time, they own time, "Time doesn´t rule our lives, we decide".
They looked happy, grateful, at peace. They explained that the decisions where taken by the community. All together they decide what to adapt from our modern societies. But time. Time was the issue. One might have thought that they are lost in time. That they are a rarity of crazy religious fanatics, too afraid to cope with the present. But she stated the issue very clear: “we decide how to live time, we don´t let time to control our lives”.
And yes, immediately I thought of the hyper connected world in which we live: Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp, et al… constantly bombing ourselves with instant crap. At that time the world was on fire: five policemen where shot in Dallas and the United States was living a very controversial presidential campaign while in Europe the problem with terrorism and migration and de Brexit was telling that the world was unease with itself.
But in the Amish country we only saw smiles, conviction in their beliefs and the sense that no matter what goes on in the world they will survive because they handle the speed of time with all its consequences. Of course we didn´t visit the dark side of the moon of the Amish country, but that was not the purpose.
The Amish people are very strong economically speaking and their communities are growing in the United States and outside. “We are actually purchasing land in Bolivia”, they explained. More than 85% of the kids born Amish stay Amish. They have an average of six children per marriage and it all makes sense for them. Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram, Periscope, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Breaking News, Big Data… big loneliness.
Yes. Speaking about time Rubi said that the elder die at home, surrounded by their beloved ones. By the families. They respect the time lived and the wisdom of those who brought the community so far away. Never leave one of our`s alone is the rule. They might not give a chance to Darwin, might not know how to send an e-mail and probably don’t imagine the world is on fire, but they know how to respect their old people. They decide how and at what pace to live their own lives and own the time to give those with long age. Must admit I wished I had no I-phone - as a matter of fact I have two - and desired I could be the one and only owner of my time.
But I guess it is too late.