Story 5: Life in Appalachia. Amish. Driven by a belief system that teaches to receive salvation, one must break from worldly sin laid out by the Ordnung (set of rules and order). They reject Hochmut (pomposity) and condone Demut (humility) and Gelassenheit (hesitation to be assertive). Dating back to 1693, the forefathers split from the Mennonites. They are distinctly known for their simple way of life, austere fashion, pacifism and hesitation to adapt to the modern world.
Driving along in Tompkinsville, Kentucky, we saw an Amish man (Abel) and his two horses trotting down the road. We stopped to chat, and he explained that his horses were "growing a bit weary" and frequently stopping to eat after the long journey. Abel said he was alright with a photo as long as it wasn't posed and a close up of his face. He was on his return leg and about 8 miles from home. He explained that each way was 16 miles from his house to town. He asked "Where are you from?" we replied, "Colorado," A succinct head nod and he stoically responded "Wow," and with that, he was off. We wished each other a safe journey, and we went on our respective ways.
It's easy to romanticize the Amish. On paper, they live a simple life with integrity, conviction and selflessness; however, they have come under fire by many accusations and incidents of rape, incest and animal abuse. Infamously, Chester Mast of Missouri pleaded guilty to rape and sodomy of a child. Additionally, David Yoder was accused of killing 93 dogs in a makeshift gas chamber where he hooked a hose up to an engine after declining to vaccinate his animals per order of the Department of Agriculture.
The population has exploded over the past decades. Estimates hover around 300,000 in North American and Canada. Another fascinatingly complex society found in the hills of Appalachia.