Monday, January 30, 2012

Translation training

One of the obvious prerequisites for starting Bible translation is that translators are trained in the basic principles of translation. Because we'd like to start translating scripture in 2013, this month we've begun an informal training course for future Ik translators. It's not always easy knowing who would make a good translator, so I just invited seven people from the three Christian denominations. So far, six of those seven have been regularly attending. Their names are Lokol Philip, Longoli Philip, Ngoya Joseph, Lokwameri Sylvester, Komboni Daniel, and Nangole Elizabeth. Here is a picture of them in animated discussion about how to write their language:

We meet every Wed. and Fri. from 9-12:30. Amber comes down and makes tea or coffee for us over break. We're meeting in the health center that we hope to renovate and make into an office, both for the language work and the medical ministry.

Although I've studied translation in the past, it's been about five years. So this course is also a refresher for me. I do my best to explain concepts that are new to the participants and sometimes more abstract than they are used to. The course material I am using includes more than 35 lessons, so we'll have plenty of time to practice:

This past week our linguistic consultant, Oliver Stegen, visited us in the Ik area. He came to help us work out some of the remaining issues concerning how to write the Ik language, like tone, vowel harmony, voiceless vowels, clitics, etc. Although we still need to do more community testing, we did make some good progress. Here's Oliver holding one of his two 'guest lectures' in our translation course:

No alphabet and writing system is perfect, but we need to get it to a point where it can be used in the community. Much of the linguistic leg-work has been done in the last four years, but more discussion and testing with Ik people remains to be done.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

More uses for mosquito netting

Terrill did a blog on mosquito netting a while back. Millions of nets are donated to Africa, yet don't always get used in the way they're intended to be used. We keep our eyes open for new uses of mosquito netting. Below are a few of our recent discoveries. Malo literally has no clothing. But...he has a mosquito net. It helps to keep the chill away.
Janet has no toys. But...she has a mosquito net and someone has tied it to a tree for her to swing from.
Ruka has no shoe repair kit. But...he has a mosquito net and it has faithfully held his shoe together for many miles of walking.

I think mosquito netting may have become the new duct tape...a solution for all of life's problems.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Family Fun

I can't go another month or write another blog without giving you a glimpse of what our time with my dad & mom was like. I can't tell you enough how nice it is to have family visit us. These are people we can let our hair down with and by letting them in on our life, they understand a little better who we are and what we're about. On the way up to Kaabong, we stopped at our favorite restaurant in Jinja and enjoyed a meal of pork ribs. How can you not laugh with these guys around? Actually, my mom is the sweet one and my dad is the instigator as most of you already know. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree but I won't tell you which tree I fell from.
The next day we headed up to Sipi Falls where we hiked and relaxed for a few days. Dad, mom & I visited all three of the main falls.
When we got to Kaabong, we had to do some laundry. Dad was a trouper and gave a hand during the rinsing process.
And it was special when mom & I set up our little 4 ft. tree a few weeks before Christmas.
Dad & Terrill decided to take a 'walk about' and explore an unknown road to the near-by game park, Kidepo. The road literally vanished and had a 2 year-old tree growing in the middle of it. They had to turn around and take the well-worn road to Kidepo. But, it was an adventure and everybody knows that men can't resist adventure.
Once in Kidepo, they met some friends.
Back to Timu and we got to work. One night, the neighbor offered us some meat: monkey. Dad is debating the wisdom of consuming it. We didn't.
We started the renovations on the unused health building and did a good bit of painting in a week. This will be Terrill's office.
Dad & Terrill also worked on a sidewalk for me. We had so many weeds growing up in our sidewalk that they decided to put a nice stone walk in. Dad & Anton are cutting the stone to fit.
Mom & I visited several villages during the week. For some reason, she was drawn to all the babies around. Right in her element.

It was nice to introduce her to some of my friends too. This is Esther with us.
We ended the week by visiting a well-known elder, Lopie Faustino. Dad got a chance to interact with an older member of our community and give him a gift. It was lovely to share our life with others.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A parking update

Some of you may have remembered a blog we did last month about the woes of parking in Jinja. Well, I was so frustrated that I decided to do something about it. We have this magazine in Uganda specifically for westerners to help them 'get around' and have the best stay possible. It's called The Eye. Besides recommendations for lodging, restaurants and entertainment, it also gives a lot of useful information for people living in Uganda. One can find emergency numbers, maps and fees for game parks in The Eye.

All it took was a little email sharing our experience and frustrations with the staff of The Eye. I simply requested that they print the official parking prices for each of the major Ugandan towns in The Eye so people like us would not get taken for a ride (literally and figuratively). Last week I got an email back. They liked my idea and wanted to help. So, starting in February, the official parking fees will be printed in The Eye. And no longer will I have to sit and argue with the parking attendants that are trying to rip me off. I'll simply show them my copy of The Eye and that should be enough. After all, can they really argue with printed prices?