2009 Field Trip to Prespatou
Location: Prespatou, British Columbia
Date: Sep 18-20, 2009
The MHSA is inviting you to field trip to Prespatou, British Columbia from September 18-20. We are planning to take a bus that will leave Edmonton on the morning of Friday, September 18 and travel to Dawson Creek. On Saturday, the bus will take us to Prespatou, and in the evening return to Dawson Creek. The bus will return to Edmonton on Sunday, September 20. The cost of the bus trip will be from $150 to $220, depending on many people sign up. On the Friday and Saturday nights we will be staying at a motel in Dawson Creek, the cost of which ranges from $97 to $110 per night. If you are interested in attending, then please RSVP Colin Neufeldt on or before August 15, 2009 at: email@example.com or 780-433-2127
Oh yes, you may be wondering why Prespatou? We asked Dave Pankratz, our MHSA Treasurer and long-time BC Peace resident who is familiar with Prespatou, to explain the importance of this Mennonite community. Below are Dave’s observations:
Most of the people I have spoken to in Prespatou see themselves as Old Colony Mennonites. The founding families came from the Osler/Hague area in Saskatchewan and the Burns Lake/Vanderhoof area in BC. Many have relatives in La Crete.
Physically, the community is laid out much like 19th century Mennonite villages in Russia with farms on either side of the main road. Farms are long and narrow and front the main road. Livestock is kept in a community pasture during the summer months. Public infrastructure is minimal – a school, a store/gas station/post office, two churches, and a seniors complex. There are also numerous farms in the surrounding area.
Plautdietch is still in wide use in Prespatou. Children, for example, can often be heard speaking Plautdietch while playing in the schoolyard during recess or at lunch time.
The MHSA program at Prespatou would be similar to the one in Linden last Fall, with one or more residents talking about the community. Unlike the Linden presentation, which had a strong lifestyle focus, this one would be more historical in nature. The presentation would be followed by a question/discussion period.
Lunch would be served (which we should be prepared to pay for) and we could then do a tour.
Please let Colin know as soon as possible if you are interested in attending.