An Outsider’s Look Inside Amish Community

NPR interview with Joe Mackall, author of a new book, Plain Secrets, a look at Ohio’s Swartzentruber Amish community.

I have witnessed the community in action many times over the years. The community takes care of everybody within it from the cradle to the grave. My wife and I have chastised ourselves for not being involved enough in our community of neighbors, friends, and colleagues. The Amish have taught us something about what it means to watch out for each other. When we had a family of skunks living under our shed, Samuel came over unannounced on a ninety-degree day after a long afternoon spent working on his chicken coop. He parked his two plow horses and his wagon in our driveway. He dug up dirt to use as a barrier, so the skunks wouldn’t be able to escape once the smoke bombs went off. By the time he left to do his evening chores, his shirt was drenched and he had helped a helpless English friend. Their dedication to community often stretches well beyond their own.

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