Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Family – our village nieces

Mark 10:29-30 “I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution.” (NLT)

One of the things I love about being in the village is being part of a family. Joyce, our main Teop translator is our mum – we call her ‘mum’ in Teop, which is ‘Iaa’ (said like ‘yaa’). Her children are our brothers and sisters, and her siblings are our uncles and aunts.

Our oldest brother has two daughters, so they are our nieces and we are their aunts. The Teop word for ‘aunt’ is also ‘Iaa’, so our nieces call me ‘Iaa Julie’. Their names are Tovu and Simoun. Tovu is four and chats away to us in Teop a lot although we don’t always have vocabulary to understand. Simoun is two and has gotten over her fear of us now and is very confident around us. Previously she would stare at us seriously or burst into tears, but now whenever she sees us, she gives us a great cheesy grin. Here are some photos of them.


Tovu eating rice from a large serving bowl:

I think that Simoun’s face in this picture shows just how confident she is around us now.

Me with Tovu:

Me with Simoun

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Buka airport

Buka airport is an airport like no other. Your first experience with the airport is likely to be in arrivals. When you arrive, you go through a small gate and wait in a small area for the luggage to come over on a trolley. The passengers unload the luggage and you squeeze through to grab your bag when it’s accessible. The photo below shows the Buka airport building, and you can see the arrivals area outside. The people who are standing behind the mesh fence have just arrived and are waiting for their luggage.

When you arrive, you don’t need to go inside the building – it is only for departures. Here is the check in counter.

We do have a little shop to buy some snacks to keep us going. It’s called the ‘Landing and Take Off Canteen’. There’s no hot pies for sale there, mostly it’s cracker biscuits and Twisties. Here you can see the canteen, and to the right of the photo there are two security staff – they check your bags when you enter the airport, to make sure that you aren’t carrying anything you aren’t supposed to have.

Lastly, here is the waiting area. When Rebekah and I were travelling recently, we managed to sit under a fan and keep cool. I counted the ceiling fans – there were six and only three of them were working.

(Remember you can click on the photos to see them a bit bigger).

Friday, March 18, 2011

Computer course

In February and March, Rebekah and I attended a computer course with our translators, Joyce and Ailyne. Each language team was given a netbook and a solar power setup so that they can use the computers to do translation work in the village.

Photo by Steve Blewett

Ailyne is pretty computer savvy, but Joyce, like several of the participants, had never used a computer before, so it was very elementary level training. They learnt how to type and they played games like Minesweeper, to practice controlling the mouse. There is some Bible translation software on the computers, which they were also taught to use.

Photo by Peter Kruzan

Joyce was really happy with how much she learnt at the computer course – before she couldn’t do anything with a computer, but now she knows how to do many things, and she can type!

Joyce typing while I look on:

Photo by Peter Kruzan

During the course, there was also times when the participants could continue working on their translation projects, so Joyce and Ailyne were able to finish typing up their draft of Mark, and then go through it and correct some spelling and punctuation errors.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Our daily hang-out spot

This is Joyce’s kitchen building. She cooks in the room on the left, while we cook in the open air room on the left. We spend a lot of our time in this little shelter. It functions as our dining room and our office where we do language learning, and it is also a social area.

When I am sitting inside the shelter doing some language study, I just need to turn my head to the left and I have this beautiful view of the ocean (and another kitchen building).

At night we also sit in this kitchen shelter with our Coleman lamp lighting it up. We spend a lot of time in this humble little building. It has a grass roof over the dining area, so it is much cooler than inside the house with its tin roof. The house is just for sleeping and storing possessions really.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Language learning

A huge part of our village life is spent in language learning. We have formal language learning sessions in the morning where we learn new words and grammar, and record what we have learnt.

We use a bit of repetition and physical movement to help us learn the words. On the day this photo was taken, we were learning more body parts. We asked for the names of the body parts and then Joyce said them in a random order, and we touched that part of our body. Here, she said ‘rikirikii’ – ribs.

Here we are recording what we learnt.

After our session and throughout the day, we spend a lot of time listening to our recordings and looking at the language that we have written down in our books too. We also try to go out in the afternoon to spend time with people, practising speaking Teop and learning more language from the conversations that we have.