©Jake Michaels, courtesy of Setanta Books
- bygone /BAHY-gon/
- shun /shuhn/
- settlement /SET-l-muhnt/
- hospitable /ho-SPIT-uh-buhl/
- literacy /LIT-er-uh-see/
[adjective] – belonging to or happening in a past time
The structures reflect a bygone era’s beauty.
[verb] – to avoid or refuse to accept someone or something
They dress simply and shun trendy clothes.
[noun] – a place where people come to live or the process of settling in such a place
All rural settlements were divided based on their size.
[adjective] – friendly and welcoming to guests and visitors
Filipinos are well-known for being hospitable.
[noun] – the ability to read and write
All children are required to undergo literacy tests.
They’re Christian sects who have shunned modern technology, including electricity in certain situations. The colonies of Belize date back to the 1950s when nearly 3,000 Canadian Mennonites immigrated from Mexico. The Belizean government gave them land, freedom, and tax benefits in exchange for signing an agreement for their stay. The Mennonites then control the domestic poultry and dairy markets in the country. Photographer Jake Michaels traveled to three Mennonite settlements to capture their way of life. He was taken aback by how receptive they were. In a phone call, Michaels said, “People were lot more hospitable than I expected, and everyone was really understanding.” Michaels discovered a world frozen in time, where life is concentrated on families free of modern distractions. However, because the communities are reliant on agriculture and labor, their literacy rate is low, with only 5% of the population having completed secondary school.
Despite their conservatism, some people own technology devices like cellphones and digital cameras. Having access to technology, fortunately, is not seen as a danger to their civilization. “It definitely impacted the way that I shoot going forward,” Michaels said. “It made me more interactive and more social with people rather, than just taking photos.”
- Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you did not have access to technology? Please tell me more about it.
- How difficult is it for you to not have electronic gadgets or modern technology?
- If you were to live with the Mennonites, do you think you would survive in a week without access to modern technology? Why or why not?
- In your opinion, why do the Mennonites continue to live traditionally?
- How important is education to a secluded civilization?