20 Minutes in Reinland

On Thanksgiving weekend, we spent a night in Neubergthal, and traveled the backroads checking out a few of the remaining Mennonite villages. We were advised to visit Reinland… and so we did.

Plaque reads: “Ens Heritage Homestead. This homestead represents a typical dwelling in the Mennonite villages of southern Manitoba. Reinland was one of 13 villages established in 1875 by the first wave of Mennonite immigrants from Ukraine. A second wave, including the Ens Family, arrived in the 1920’s. These premises and artifacts appear much as they did a century ago, and depict an active rural lifestyle with the benefits of village life. Dedicated August 2010. Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known among the people what he has done. Isaiah 12:4”

Sure enough, there’s a preserved housebarn there, complete with summer kitchen. It was locked for winter so we just peeked in a few windows and took a few photos.

I googled “post road Manitoba” and it brought me to this page, belonging to the Mennonite Heritage Archives.

I’m new to learning about all things Mennonite… AND catching up to the literary greats… so we didn’t know at the time we were there, that this was where award-winning poet Di Brandt grew up. That’s hugely significant to me now that I’ve learned that I love her poetry. I probably would have experienced Reinland differently if I had known, while I was there. (Di Brandt has recently been named Winnipeg’s first poet laureate! If you haven’t read questions i asked my mother, what are you waiting for?)

Our visit in Reinland was brief. A family was having a gathering in the park, and we were weirding them out. We must have looked very strange, wandering around like that, all nosy-like.

Though Reinland does have an alluring number of signs to read, that encourage sign-readers such as myself to linger. I was by the Ens Homestead, quietly reading a bit about the place, when a loud snort and a scuffling sound erupted nearby. I jumped, peeked around the corner, and saw this guy, endeavouring to escape…

And we soon followed suit. Thank-you for the brief but pleasant visit, Reinland. I will be back someday to see the place where Di as a little girl thought heaven must be in the hayloft.