Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Malakula Report through Pics Part 1

I recently went to Malakula, the second largest island in Vanuatu. They have over thirty different languages alone! I was able to hear 6 of them. That was a fantastic opportunity. I went to Malakula to survey one of these languages, Na'ahai. Na'ahai is spoken by almost 1500 to 2000 people on the south coast of Malakula. They do not have a Bible in their language 'yet' and have been frustrated with the Bislama (national language) Bible. Simply, they say it is not very clear. I should point out that the major problem is not with the translation itself. Its due to the fact that Bislama is a second language, and for most from south coast Malekula it is a third or fourth language. This added to the fact that Bislama is a very imprecise language makes for very interesting interpretations and discussions about what God has to say to us in His word. 
I worked in coordination with SIL, Summer Institute of Linguistics, and with a local man from the area, Aman. He is fluent in 6 languages alone! My partner in crime, Jim Kenner, is currently in the states so it was just me and Aman. During the  survey i visited 9 villages, slept in 4 of them, recorded 4 130 word and simple sentence wordlists and transcribed 3 of them. A final 29 page report was completed and sent to SIL at the end. The hope is that one day a Bible translator will move into the area and begin to learn the language, love the people, translate the Bible and begin Bible teaching/discipleship.  

The first few days of my trip were spent in the Maskalyene islands south of the south coast of Malakula. I attended the Presbyterian General Assembly. It was a great time to advocate for Bible translation and the importance of missionaries living in villages throughout Vanuatu rather than staying in the capital city. Not surprisingly, before i was even able to get started the rumor was out about me and many of them came to me to talk. The remainder of the trip was spent on the south coast of Malakula.    

Below is just some pics of the trip and some short excerpts. Thanks for your support and prayers!

Above: children are singing in the background anticipating a visit from the Prime Minister. He was visiting b/c the Presbyterian church had their general assembly on the Maskylenes this year. If 
 I'm not mistaken he addresses them annually.

Maskylenes are well known for their reefs and fishing. And for good reason! I had fish most of the nights with dry rice. Everything but the bones went into my belly. Children are fishing above. 

Just one of the evening meals. The village provided free food at the assembly but the guys i bunked with were from Tanna and preferred to pay 120 vatu (about $1.20) for this plate of dry rice and fish. So that's what i did.

Men and women pealed yam, taro, and kumala (sweet potato),  all day for about a week and a half to keep up the demand. Over 500 men and woman attended the small island during the assembly. You can imagine the stress the village and gardens experienced. A lot of the food was shipped in in preparation for the assembly. The people also grew more root veggies in anticipation of the assembly.

This little guy (rainbow lorikeet) turned out to be my best friend. A local guy in the village trained him though he just lived in the trees in the village. For whatever reason (the locals figured it was b/c i was white or he liked my blue shirt) he followed me everywhere.

The men of the village performed a custom dance for the prime minister. During the dace they lead the PM to the church. Kinda interesting!

During the last day of the assembly each different session from all over Vanuatu had a ceremony to literally 'pass the torch' to the next province who would host the assembly next year. Man Tanna are in the orange. I bunked with them in a single hut. Man Ambrym are in the Red. Malakula is in the purple and Santo is in the green. They will host next year.

The hut where i slept with roughly 30 other guys. Concrete floor with 3 layers of mats. Concrete blocks about hip high then woven bamboo the the walls and a thatch roof. Aman is in the orange. My pack is on the left. A favorite bag to pack belongings into are rice bags. They are large and water proof. You can see it on the right.

Everyone packing up and getting ready for the 16hr boat ride home. 

During my 6 hour boat ride to the mainland we stopped on the island of Axamb. Absolutely gorgeous! B/C of rising sea levels and depleting reefs the island is disappearing into the ocean. Thus many of the locals have moved to the mainland to a different culture and language than their own on the small island.

This is the party i traveled with and our small boat in the background.

Having a smoke after breakfast. Many of them grow their own tobacco.

Just an example of some of the toys they make from the jungle.

Of all of the young strong boys standing around when we left the village they picked these three girls to pack us out of the village and to the next leg of our trip. My pack alone was 23 kilos. Way to heavy. Believe it or not we struggled to keep up with them. As soon as we hit the trail they threw their sandals off and got to work.

This was the end of the trail for them. They prob saved me 5 kilometers of walking up and down and through sand. It would have killed me. From this point we went another 10 strong kilometers or so. It was a long day to be carrying the weight i was on sand beach. Trying to pack lighter but its the recording stuf that weighs the most. I just have to stay in shape!

At the end of their leg the took a dip in the large cool river.

Children washing clothes in the river.

Walked through a large cocao (coco/chocolate) plantation.

Going to trade tobacco for oranges with a village on an island off the mainland

No food, clothes, resources or space is taken for granted or wasted. Woman using her ear to hold a coin

When he found out i was from the US he had an unlimited number of WWII stories. Everyone of them worth recoding and listening to! This story was about the time he spotted a Japanese sub off his island. He reported it with the radio the Americans gave him and a few minutes later fighters were chasing it off. As the story goes they blew it up next to the island of Pamma.

This couple is heading home after a day in the garden. The village has a salt water lagoon with an island in the center of it. Most of their gardens are on this island. During high tide they canoe to the island. During low tide they canoe out.

Preparing for a bride price ceremony. Who said woman aren't valued in this part of the world :). This was a dual ceremony as there were two weddings. Each price was about $500 US.

The price is payed in cash. Each member of the woman's family touches the money and passes it to another member. I was told that this symbolizes that each will get a share (the price isn't about getting rich) and that each accept the union.
The man waiting for his newly purchased bride. The club symbolizes that he can protect and the bow and arrow symbolizes that he can provide.

The woman covers her face with the leaf (taro leaf) that represents her clan.

Mr. Love patrol (tee shirt) is holding the money waiting to pass it off.

Second man waiting for his new wife. He walked down the alley and she, with her family of ladies, followed behind.

A fleet of canoes and fiberglass boats.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Houghton's trip update

WOW.  I have been blown away by the amount of e-mails, fb messages, etc. that I have been getting concerning Hought's trip.  We are humbed daily by the grace that He lavishes on us moment by moment and the mercy that falls on us in moments of weakness and stupidity. :)  And even now I am so dumbfounded by the grace He covers me with through YOU our amazing support team.  We cannot do anything in and of ourselves and it has been such a tremendous gift you to give hand in ways that cannot be expressed!
I have felt SO at peace these last few days!  I have been sleeping soundly (well as soundly as a mom of three can! :) ) and have been thouroughly enjoying the company of my kids, my God, and my friends and family here in Vanuatu and around the world.
All this to say a HUGE thank you!!!!

We were told by some missionaries close by where H will be treking that Digecel (the mobile company that we use here in Vanuatu) doesn't work in the Mascilines and Malekula.  So I was really bummed that I wouldn't be able to talk to H here and there and hear about his trip etc.
BUT, because God is so gracious, Hought has been able to call 4 times!!!!!!!  He arrived without TOO much trouble (4 hour late plane and water coming over the boat in waves) to the Mascilines, which are a small group of islands off the south coast of the large island of Malekula.  He stayed there with a large group of men from all over Vanuatu while a conference was going on until today.  He will be leaving (as last I heard) today by boat to head to the South West Bay of Malekula.  His work is going really quickly and he is getting quite an arrangement of words from these incredible languages.
I wish I could remember the word that meant "ankle" it was hilariously hard to reproduce for my mouth... and a little tricky for him to reproduce to make sure he was transcribing (or writing it out) right.  Needless to say, his mind is going a hundred miles an hour, and God has been good to give him strength these last few days.

I hope to get some calls from him while he is treking through Malekula, but I am not sure if his phone will get service.  So I am grateful for the calls in the last couple days and will wait to update you more when I know more.

Thanks for the prayer!  The answers have been so tangible to me!


Thursday, September 02, 2010

A trip to Malekula

Houghton has taken off to the island of Malekula to do a survey of the languages and peoples there.  He was asked to make this survey on behalf of SIL (one of the most influential Bible translation groups around the world) and H was ready and willing to take the trip.  This will be the first survey trip that H has been on where he won't have a teammate with him.  He will be traveling with a local man who is from Malekula.  The two of them will cover a lot of distance by plane, boat, and foot.
Hought will be gone until Sept 13, the day before Gwen turns 4!!! :)

Please pray with us for:

His health - He is still recovering from his bought with malaria (?) that struck him almost 2 months ago
His saftey - as with any trip and trek, things can happen!
His work - Hought will be noticing the gap where a teammate would fill in.... Pray that he would be able to think through things and work clearly without the added bonus of another mind to throw ideas with and against

For me and the kids' health - I always worry that something major will happen while the NURSE is away. :)  Pray that we would have an uneventful time without H as far as our health goes! :)
For me and the kids' saftey - Unfortunatly Port Vila is not a safe city.  Especially where our house is located.  Pray that we would feel safe at night with out the man in the house. :)
For me and the kids' work - WOW any moms out there would know that when dad is away, the daily norm is harder.  Pray that I would keep a positive attitude with the kids and that we would enjoy our time together.
For me - I ALWAYS miss H terribly when he is away and I let my mind wander instead of casting any worry and anxiety on Him.  Pray that I would rest in the Comforter throughout the weeks he will be away.

Thanks guys.  Cannot do this without your prayer!!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

To finish off July and Start August

     Today our teammates are leaving for the States.  It is a bitter sweet.  Bitter because they are dear friends who have been by our side (through the good, bad and the ugly) for the last 2 years.  Sweet because they are going to be eating TACO BELL in 24 hours! :)

     We had an amazing month of July.  Time has been zooming past us and, praise God, we are so blessed that each step of the way we know His presence.  In the last two years, our journey has taken us to live in two different countries, and  meet TONS of incredible people whom He has called out that we are able to now call friends.  Although this is only the beginning of our life in Vanuatu, we are HUGELY blessed to call this amazing country home.  It is a difficult transition into a new culture,  there has been blood (thankfully not lots!),  lots of sweat and lots of tears and I can tell you in full confidence that God was in it all. He continues to show us that this is NOT possible in our own strength but that  moment by moment we MUST trust in His strength!  What a battle!  To be in the habit of relying on His strength.  Does this ever become 1st nature?  So often we muck things up because of our constant power struggle with our all-knowing, all-caring, and all-powerful creature.
Here are some little snippets of the last couple weeks.

While mom and dad were here, we had Tania take some family shots of us all.  This tire swing has provided many a picture for our kids!

Although we can get cottage cheese in one of the stores here, I thought I would give my cheese making skills a try. :)  I made Ricotta for some lasagna and it was AMAZING!

We were able to celebrate Vanuatu's 30th year of independence together.

These lantern things were SO cool.  Its like a mini hot air balloon that you light and send off into the night.  COOL!  It was a bit windy so that night proved to be a bit tricky, BUT we got it off without lighting anything on fire (as far as we know!) :).
We see this a couple hundred times a day. :)  Our little three (sometimes sans clothes!) walking up the hill to see what Lewi and Monique are up to.

Helping Josh wash dishes the last day the Kenners were here.

Getting in some time before the big move.

One final pic as a team...turned out pretty cool! :) The Kenners are now back in the states finishing their support raising.