AgricultureAgriculture was a challenge in Holland. It was difficult to create a pice of land suitable to farming because is was hard to remove all the tree stumps. A plough could get through if the wood had been removed for a long time and the most of the land around Holland was very swampy, so it couldn't be used for years. Wild animals also hurt progress; cattle were attacked by wolves and squirrels ate much of the seed before it had a chance to grow.
Importing food wasn't an option either, as Holland was very far away from larger cities, making it expensive to buy food brought into the village.
The food wasn't very luxurious, but quite monotonous. Every day, the same: potatoes, corn flour, and bean and grain soup. Coffee and tea were very rare and most of the people had to create subsitutes out of beans and corn.
The nightmare goes onThe summer of 1847 was a complete nightmare. It was raining more than the immigrants were used and many diseases spread. There were too many dead and not enough wood for the coffins, so they couldn't be burried the traditional way. Moreover, the "survivers" were too weak to bury them.
The inhabitants were getting desperate:
"If ever a nation was poor and miserable, then we were that in the first summer. (...) Did we come here for this, to die in this hell, didn't there were graveyards in our old homeland? Ah! Why didn't we stay?"
Every time the immigrants got desperate, Van Raalte was there. He knew how to build confidence in the colonists and with his prayers, led them to a better future. Perhaps it wasn't Van Raalte who inspirerd the people, but God, because Van Raalte believed strongly in God, which, in turn, gave the people courage.
UnanimosityAll of the colonists were a kind of one big family. Everybody was connected with everybody else and they shared everything. If somebody needed help, they received it. A good example is a blockhouse which was designed to be an orphan house. However, it was never used for the purpose it had been built because the orphans were all adopted by other families in the community.