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A Letter to My Neighbour

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Crystal Springs Crop
The Crystal Springs Hutterite colony, southeast of Ste. Agathe. Google

I am sitting here writing this letter at 10:00 p.m., utterly exhausted. However, despite how tired I am, I can’t help but feel grateful—grateful that my community has some pretty amazing people in it, including a Hutterite colony just south of us.

I am not Hutterite, nor could I be, but I respect their culture and their great sense of kindness, faith, and citizenship. Hutterites show up.

You may have noticed that Hutterites have gotten a bad rap lately in the media and people are quick to blame and discriminate against them (or remain complicit). Some colonies have experienced hate calls and even threats against their families.

What I have experienced over the last 18 hours is actually the opposite. I refuse to linger on those sentiments of hurt and discrimination.

Instead we pulled into action and created a community of care. My community wants the Hutterite community to know that we understand they are going through some very trying times right now with lockdowns, loss of income due to tradeshow closures and loss of business, sickness, and loss of workers to complete communal tasks and labour that would normally be done with efficiency like no other during harvest time.

Yes, we know that the Hutterite community is having a really tough time right now. COVID doesn’t discriminate, and neither should we.

I’ll repeat that: COVID doesn’t discriminate, and neither should we.

We wish our friends and neighbours the best rest and recovery possible and we hope that they know, despite us not being able to be there in person to help them, that we are sending them our love, prayers, and healing energies.

More than 30 people and four local businesses in the last 18 hours have donated goods and treats for a community care package to send to our neighbours.

Oh, and if we never took the time to properly thank you—because in true Hutterite spirit, you are too humble or don’t want the recognition—let us say:

  • Thank you for volunteering to make hundreds of face masks for people all over Manitoba, Canada, and in other countries when the urgent need was there in March. You worked into the night, still woke up for your children in the morning, and never complained. You also asked for nothing in return.
  • Thank you for making and donating copious amounts of food for community and healthcare events when you could have been playing baseball or going on family picnics.
  • Thank you for volunteering hundreds of hours, at all times of day and night, to assist our firefighters with bushfires as part of the Eastman Mutual Aid District.
  • Thank you for donating, year after year, to the Canadian Blood Services, which has provided countless patients with lifesaving blood and blood products. Since January 2020, 81 Hutterite colonies have regularly donated blood in 15 mobile donor centres. Combined, they booked more than 550 appointments. It is fair to ask, when is the last time we went out of our way to donate blood during a pandemic?
  • Thank you for volunteering year after year during our flood crises to sandbag and provide sandwiches. You come with smiles and the strongest and fastest sandbagging technique I have ever witnessed. You also ask for nothing in return.

Nobody wants this pandemic and no one wants to feel like a target because they’ve been exposed to or have developed COVID.

Again, COVID doesn’t discriminate, and neither should we.

So from myself and the rest of the community that cares, we are happy you are our neighbours. We thank you for all that you do, and we are here for you.

It is my hope that in the future, when we are out in the community and we see our Hutterite neighbours, we won’t stare and walk the other way. It is my hope that we will realize that we are all in this together. We can adhere to social distancing guidelines, smile underneath our masks, and nod to each other. We can acknowledge each other as people and as neighbours.

And maybe one day soon, hopefully in the not so distant future, we can line up early at the St. Malo Farmers Market on a Saturday morning to taste those delicious Hutterite homemade donuts. We will conduct business together again in person, and we will say a heartfelt thank you for all that you do for our community.

With love and prayers,

Your Neighbours Up the Road

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For related article, see link below.
https://nivervillecitizen.com/news/local/q-a-mask-confusion-and-misinformation