Since it was Hendrike’s last day in Winnipeg and she had yet to see The Yellow Deli (a business operated by the community) that’s where we went and spent the following day.
We started the day off with a sample of delightful cinnamon tea with honey, then toured the entire deli building.
Hendrike and I washed and cut lettuce for sandwiches that morning and also filled small bowls on the tables with sugar packets.
I bagged tea with Shua and an 8-year-old girl named Rakefet, whose eyes remind me much of actress Amanda Seyfried’s. The three of us ended up playing the game where one would provide clues about an object while the other two would guess what it was. Some of the clues the girls provided included, “I’m useful” and “without me, you’d die,” which made me chuckle multiple times because they were so broad. But of course, they wanted their object to be difficult to guess.
I met a young man named Benyamin that evening. I may have met him the day before, but I met so many people that I don’t remember if I did. He’s probably around 5’10” and had brown hair, bright eyes and a pleasantly friendly demeanor. On the way back to the house he made an analogy comparing humans to landfills: on the surface they look nice, but if you scratch the top a little, it’s ugly. Similarly, people all seem nice at first, but then someone will react unexpectedly to a situation, and the ugly comes out. He said the Twelve Tribes try to show the ugly up front, and the daily checks at the gatherings show people’s more unattractive qualities.
After that evening’s gathering, I saw Benyamin holding a baby, and I asked whose it was.
“Mine. Can’t you tell? Doesn’t he look like me?”
I let out a small laugh because I honestly thought he was joking. Benyamin was probably in his early 20s, so it just seemed unlikely that he would have a child.
But then he went on talking about how he was trying to potty train Daniel (the baby), and I overheard a lady telling Daniel, “Look at what Abba [dad in Hebrew] has for you!”
So Daniel really was his son.
It took some time for me to absorb that fact, because while I know a good number of young adults with children, the majority of young 20-year-olds I know are not parents. Later on I would hear about married 19-year-olds and learn that it isn’t uncommon for community members to have children in their late teens and early 20s.