Friday, February 26, 2010

Little black dresses and watermelons on the Chaco

I received a book yesterday and started reading right away.

The book is called Mennonite in a little black dress, by Rhoda Janzen. You can read a review of the book here:
Some parts of the book are hilarious, some are exaggerated, some are a little vulgar.
But what I wanted to share with you today is so funny, I really laughed out loud (LOL). The author describes her childhood in a mennonite family and how her mother would tell her to eat the raisins in her stale "Schnetke" because, "Starving children on the Chaco wanted those raisins!"

First of all: you say IN the Chaco and not ON the Chaco. I've been living here for 27 years, I should know.
Second of all: her mother could have been misinformed about the situtation here. To give you a better picture, I'll copy a paragraph from her book here:

"...I was terrified that God would call me to become a missionary to the Chaco. The Chaco was an arid stretch of high-altitud land in South America that defied profitable farming. The Mennonites of my youth had reached enthusiatic consensus concering the Chaco, with its many indigenous non-Christian peoples: it was ripe for mission work. I'm still not sure of what goes on on the Chaco, but as a child I suspected that it involved proliferating weevils and manioc root. From many Sunday-night-church slide presentations, I learned that a missionary organization called Word Made Flesh often summoned Mennonite missionaries to plant churches on the Chaco. When I saw ths slides, I privately concluded that what the Chaco needed was not church planting, but a better selection of fruits and vegetables. Forget church planting: just get busy with watermelons. A juicy sweet watermelon could kick the ... of any manioc root. Probably!..." Quote ends here.

Listening to the author, you would think we live in the dark ages down here, playing with stones and eating manioc. (Which, by the way, prepared correctly is very tasty)

I know the passage of the book, or even the whole book is not to be taken seriously, but doesn't it crack you up somethimes, to read something about your hometown in a book? Especially if the picture is painted in the wrong colors.

Have a great weekend! Enjoy the free time! Soak up some family time! Find something in the sermon on Sunday, that you will use in the coming week!


  1. Hi Brenda, Love the black dress -- is it yours? -- and the watermelon photo! That bugged me too -- on the Chaco! I wondered if she was confused with the Choco River in Colombia or Panama I think where the MBs also had mission work. At any rate, didn't much get it right! Plus, what is Word Made Flesh? Never heard of it, but maybe you have.

  2. Thanks for the book! I read your note very carefully and will not hold you responsible for anything:) I wish the black dress was mine, but I wouldn't have any place to wear it to. I never heard of the "Word Made Flesh". Caroline said I should write her a note to clear some things, and maybe invite her over to see the arid landscape we have here after such beautiful rain the last 2 weeks.

  3. mean you don't live in the dark ages? ;) The picture of the watermelon cracked me up!

    Happy VGNO! :)

  4. I know exactly what you mean. How funny!

    Happy VGNO!!!!!

  5. Oh that is so funny!! I grew up on Staten Island and every once in awhile you see it on Law and Order. And yeah it is a cop show so I expect crimes but it is still funny. If you take Law and Order at face value you would think Staten Island is rampant with gangsters and mobsters. :)

  6. You know, I actually started a novel, but can't figure out the setting.

    If I write about a real place, I need to have facts........obviously as you pointed out, the residents of that area would know if I was "fudging the facts".

    If I try to make up a fictitious town, I would have to really do alot of research to make sure there isn't really a town by that name.

    Oh my goodness; decisions, decisions...

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  7. Your story is funny & reminds me of a penpal I had in grade school, she was from Pennsylvania and clearly thought that anyone who lived in Oregon lived in a log cabin and feared for her life, while the wild animals circled her cabin...of course running water & indoor plumbing had not made it out of the Eastern part of America in the early 80's..... :)

    Hope you had a great VGNO! Stop by & visit when you get a chance, I'm always looking for a few more followers on my blog & FB! - Thanks! :) -j

  8. That is hilarious! I have had similar experiences when reading about my hometown in books written by people who have never been there.


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