All the settlers of both these colonies, like the earlier immigrants from Canada, came to Paraguay hoping that it would here be easier for them to preserve their spiritual heritage, the German language (though in everyday life only Plattdeutsch is spoken), and their traditional, rural way of life. All of these they thought were threatened in Canada, with the young people leaving the farms for the city, availing themselves of higher education, and in many instances joining the military forces. The village life, church, and school in the new homeland were arranged according to the traditionally conservative pattern of their forefathers as these settled in Russia in the 1780s and again in Canada in the 1870s. Colony affairs are voted upon by the group, the ministers are elected from the ranks of the lay men, and teachers for the schools are also laymen able and willing to teach the "three R's." No higher education is provided for, and men rely on reading the Bible which also serves as textbook at school, periodicals—mostly religious journals edited by sister denominations, or farm journals, or the radio for widening their horizons. However, the making of a livelihood in the new homeland calls for consider able adapting. The once proud wheat farmers and "mixed" farmers of the Russian steppes and the Canadian prairies are here truck farmers, gardeners, raising kaffir corn, maize, peanuts, mandioca, and citrus fruits; they become "rancheros" raising the scrub but hardy cattle adapted to the tropics; or they cut, dress, and sell what useful timbers can be found in their forests, mostly lapacho and cedar. Or, lacking the means to start on their own, they are reduced to cowhands and wage earners. Paraguayan conditions, lacking markets and marketing facilities as well as natural resources, do not provide opportunities for much diversification and expansion, nor are economic and political conditions stable enough to encourage it. For this reason about one third of the immigrants that came in 1948 returned to Canada.
Fretz, J. W. Pilgrims in Paraguay. Scottdale: Herald Press, 1953: 9, 48, 153 ff.
Mitteilungen, Institue für Auslands-beziehungen. Stuttgart, Germany. (November-December 1954): 302-3.
Quiring, W. Im Schweisse deines Angesichts. Steinbach, 1953: 79-102.
|Author(s)||J. W Nickel|
Cite This Article
Nickel, J. W. "Villarrica (Guairá Department, Paraguay)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 5 May 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Villarrica_(Guair%C3%A1_Department,_Paraguay)&oldid=96770.
Nickel, J. W. (1959). Villarrica (Guairá Department, Paraguay). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 5 May 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Villarrica_(Guair%C3%A1_Department,_Paraguay)&oldid=96770.
Herald Press website.
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