Monday, March 29, 2010

Sohano Island and views

Here are some more photos of our time at Sohano Island (above). Since I am blogging by email, I can't write in between the photos and all the text has to be at the bottom, but let me tell you about the photos above.

The first photo is a view from Sohano Island, looking toward Buka Island and town.

Sohano Island sits in the middle of the Buka Passage, towards one end. In the second photo, on the left is Buka Island, and on the right is Bougainville Island.

We decided to have a picnic lunch at Sohano, so before we left Buka, we each bought a cassava cake with banana in the middle. It is a nice food, although it doesn't look all that glamorous in the (third) picture. It is very filling! I was only able to eat half of mine that day and had the rest the following day for lunch.

Lastly, the beautiful water. Although the photo is small, I hope you can get a sense for how lovely it is. There is a strong current and when we went snorkelling we really noticed it. You have to swim with a little bit of effort to make progress when going in the opposite direction from the current, but when you're going in the same direction, you can just float and let the current carry you.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

WWII memorials at Sohano, Bougainville

Today Rebekah and I went to Sohano Island, which sits in the Buka Passage, that is the small bit of ocean between Bougainville and Buka Island. There are some war memorials at Sohano and I visited them on your behalf.
The Australian memorial was a bit off the beaten track! It wasn't very far, but the path to it was almost non-existent and we ended up with lots of prickly burrs in our clothes for our effort! The first 3 photos above are of this memorial. I think the words are pretty clear on the first picture, but the second one is a bit harder to see – it says: In memory of the service given by the coast watchers and the loyal natives who assisted them 1939-1945.
The Japanese war memorial was more prominent and we just walked on nice short grass to get to it. It is in the 4th picture above. You can see it from the sea when you are travelling on a motor boat as it is at the top of a hill at a point on the island.
The final photo is of a shell of a plane that crashed at Sohano. What I wonder is, did the plane crash at that exact spot, or was it moved to this more prominent position?
We also went snorkelling and it was great when you were in the midst of a whole school of fish, loads of them surrounding you. Those were rather unspectacular fish, but we also saw the nice brightly coloured ones too. No photos of the snorkelling as we don't have waterproof cameras!
I took a lot of photos of the views from the island, so I will put them up in a blog post in a few days.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Preparing to go to Bougainville

It's less than a week now till we go to Bougainville! Rebekah and I have been doing a bit of research on the Teop language. We found some wordlists in both Teop and the neighbouring language (Tinputz) and its dialects. It has been useful to have a look at those lists and compare the words to see similarities and differences.

One of the things we want to do when we visit the Teop area is to try to understand the dialect situation a bit more, so that we (or other potential teams) can know what is needed in terms of translation. For example, would a translation in the main coastal dialect be acceptable and useful for people who speak the dialects in the mountains, or would they need a separate translation?

We are hoping to visit several villages and dialects and we plan to write down lists of words in each place and compare them later. We will also ask questions about the language – its use, and how much people can understand the other dialects.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Meal lists

One of the nice things about Ukarumpa is that when you've been away for a while, they put up a meal list for you at the Post Office. What I mean by that is, there is a pinboard at the Post Office, where they put up a piece of paper with your name on it and the dates of the first three days that you'll be in Ukarumpa. Next to each date there are two columns, one for lunch and one for dinner, and people can write their name in a slot and sign up to have you over for lunch or dinner.

It is nice when you arrive in Ukarumpa not to have to worry about cooking meals straight away, especially when you're a new arrival like I was in December 2008 when I arrived from Madang to Ukarumpa.

I had a meal list when I returned from Alotau last week, and people had signed up for all three evening meals (didn't get any offers for lunches though!). I enjoy having meal lists as it is an opportunity to get to know people a bit better. Quite often I will sign up to have somebody over for a meal too.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Anuki Team

During the translation workshop in February, I was working with the Anuki language group. Each language group sends three people to the workshop, two who work on translating and one who works on producing literacy materials, such as books for children in their language. The team that the Anuki language sends in consists of translators, Kipling and Hazel, and the literacy worker Paulus. In the picture above you can see Kipling and Hazel working on translating a passage.

Paulus joined us to check through the passage – when I did the advisor checks, he joined us and I asked him questions about the passage since he hadn't worked on it and didn't know it so intimately. We are doing an advisor check in the picture below.

Nearly every night after dinner, I went back to work with the Anuki team to finish off the day's work and I was glad when we had the occasional day that we finished everything before dinner! The days we finished earlier were the days that we only had 12 verses to translate. Other days we were working on 15-19 verses.

At the end of the workshop, we had an evaluation, and the Anuki team said that when we translated only 12 verses in a day it was not enough! I tell you what – they are so dedicated that they are happy to translate more verses and working after dinner doesn't faze them! They're just incredible!

Kipling working hard in the picture above.