School trips like this one always seem to be exercises in problem solving. Our bus was due at 9am, and after several pointed conversations we were assured the bus would be there in 15 minutes, well the 15 minutes turned into several lots of 15 minutes and the bus finally arrived at 10.35 only 10 minutes ahead of when the bus company thought they were picking us up. After several other phone calls the day was rearranged so that we could stop where we needed to.
After 3 hours on the bus we arrived in Amish county at a place near Lancaster. We met though a connection that Dee had, Eric and Diane, they joined us for lunch where we encouraged the students to try some different foods, largely based on German cookery. Eric and Diane then hopped on the bus and directed our driver around the local countryside, Eric was very knowledgeable of the Amish and how the various communities had established themselves based on their beliefs. The students learnt quite a bit about the family set up and expectations of children, teens and adults, how they live and work, how they get to experience life away from the Amish between the ages of 18 and 21 and then have to decide between their church and family and a different life (if they choose the different life they are cut off from the family and community entirely, which may well account for why most of them return to their families). There are a lot of expectations around behaviour, and traditional gender assigned roles exist within the family and community, not sure many of our girls would cope with that, I know I wouldn’t.