Posts Tagged ‘Water’

The MAF plane flew into Korupun, West Papua in Indonesia – bringing the Kimyal New Testament to the Kimyal people. As the elders received the first box of New Testaments, one of the pastors prayed to God:

The month that you had set, the day that you has set, has come to pass today… You looked at all the languages and chose which ones would be put into Your Word. You thought that we should see Your word in our language. Today, the day that you had chosen for this to be fulfilled, has come to pass. O God, today, you have placed Your Word into my hands, just like you promised. You have placed it here in our land. And for all this, O God, I give You praise.

That’s how Wycliffe:Live started in Coleraine Baptist Church and Moira Baptist Church on 19 and 26 October 2011.

And then we asked the question: what needs to happen before a people group can receive God’s Word for the first time? That produced a whole list of roles and activities: printing, typesetting, translating, linguistic analysis, literacy, translation consultants, pilots, teachers, trainers, IT people, finance people, personnel, counsellors, scripture use, mother tongue education, recruiters, engineers, digital publishers, project managers, language software developers…

We couldn’t deal with all of these in one evening, so we zoomed in on a few examples…

Heather Saunders works with ETP to train people from around the world going to initial language assignments and has accompanied her husband Philip on translation consultant trips to Madagascar.

Heather Saunders with a trainee translation consultant in Madagascar

Mick Toolin (Water for Cameroon) who facilitates local communities to dig wells and install bio-sand water filters in NW Cameroon where the Ndop Team is working with a cluster of 10 language groups, two of which have recently had the Gospel of Luke completed.

Mick Toolin at the opening of another new well in Ndop

Bambalang man, who lost his home in inter-village violence, tastes pure water from his new bio-sand filter

Each year Wycliffe:Live has an offering project and this year it is for the First Gospel Beech Project from N. Nigeria which has a cluster of 7 languages spoken by over 520,000 people. One of the translation consultants is Jennifer Davey who has been working with the Zul team. Read more about this here and here.

Jennifer Davey checking Gospel of Luke with Zul team

… which took us to half-time. Part two to follow, but why not take a look at the video of the Kimyal people receiving their New Testament.

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Jon at the "translation desk"

It’s a fine and fancy ramble from the northside to the south… 100 miles in fact from Belfast to Dublin last Friday to be part of the Grace Fellowship Church event as part of Dublin Culture Night. See also my recent blog.

I had brought with me a substantial part of the Wycliffe UK travelling exhibition – see below – to stand alongside Jon Blackwell’s Bible translation desk, Mick Toolin’s Water for Cameroon exhibit and lots of other stuff provided by Grace Fellowship Church.

Wycliffe UK travelling exhibition

And here’s me talking to a medical student from Singapore and her mother in front of the stands with the bread display and an international selection of breads for visitors to taste … in fact it was my evening meal!

Singaporeans were not the only nationality that I talked to… a Cameroonian lady with three children who had lived in Dublin for 7 years was amazed to discover that I had visited her home area of Ndop, NW Cameroon, and that Jon’s laptop was showing his work on Luke in Bamunka, a neighbouring language to her own.

An American girl studying linguistics at University College Dublin, was equally amazed when she picked up the Sissala New Testament from Burkina Faso from our table – she had been on a Wycliffe USA Discovery team and had worked with the related Sissala team of N. Ghana.

And then there was the guy from Sweden and his girl friend from Colombia – both fascinated by languages… not to mention people from Poland, Sierra Leone, China and even some Irish 🙂

It was a great evening! Pray with us for potential Wycliffe recruits from around the world and with Grace for the conversations about Christianity that church members had with people who dropped in to see what was going on.

A few more pictures…

Admiring the Bamunka literacy T shirt

Conversation at the "translation desk"

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Mick discussing the water situation with Bafanji elders, Ndop, NW Cameroon

Mick discussing water provision with Bafanji elders in Ndop

I’ve blogged about Mick Toolin (a Wycliffe volunteer from Dublin) before: I think this was the first one… about the trip I made with him just over a year ago in Ndop, NW Cameroon  Operation Clean Water in Ndop

Recently we asked Mick to write up the story of how he got involved and how the experience has changed his views about lots of things. What he has written should be essential reading for people of whatever age making their first trip to an African culture.

My first ever visit to Ndop was in 2007 to visit Jon and Sandra Blackwell who are literacy specialists with the Ndop Language Cluster in NW Cameroon. Of course I had listened intently to the Blackwells when they gave reports to our church on their  return from their visits – at least I thought I had listened. In preparation for that visit I had consistently asked Jon to have some “practical” jobs ready for me to do. I was organising my mind to do lots of work that would “help” the community there. My idea of helping  the communities was essentially doing lots of stuff for them. Jon wisely continued to say, “I would prefer you to just visit and meet the people…” I have to admit I found this a little annoying as I was taking three weeks to go and really wanted to do something!

That first visit really opened my eyes to the work that Wycliffe are doing and also gave me a very good idea of village life. Slowly I saw the reasoning in Jon’s approach. I had the time to take it all in, so it was all a big learning experience for me.

The thoughts that went through my head on my first visit to a community farm were not Christian thoughts. I remember thinking “this is completely hopeless” …  “they have no hope”. All I could see were people dressed in rags poking at the soil and clouds of dust everywhere. It seemed to me that they were wasting their time, this was going nowhere. I asked myself if I could live like this, it seemed to me to be a hopeless unending grind. For the first week of that visit I had virtually no sleep at all; I lay awake each night thinking about what I was seeing each day. I should say that the Ndop  Plain is not an area that is deprived, much of the land is fertile and suitable for cultivation.  It is not like many other places in Africa that continues to suffer from severe drought. It just seemed to me to be so disorganised.

My thoughts were that these people needed to get organised and farm the land effectively. I did not realise it at the time that I was bringing “my culture” to a place that is totally unfamiliar with my way of doing things. All my life I had worked in industry, and that required a need to “be organised” and have a “make it happen” attitude. I was looking on all this as a Project that needed to be done, and Projects need to be organised. Big mistake!

I really had a secret desire to do something to help. I can’t actually remember if I said anything to Jon or Sandra about  this desire, I don’t think I did. I had no real idea of what it could be, I had no specific training in any of the areas that I thought I could help in. At this point I was still thinking that the best way to help was to do things for the community. This is totally different from the view I currently hold.

Mick discussing plans with the well-digger

A month or two after I returned from that visit Jon asked If I would consider having an involvement with the Ndop Languages Cluster team on the Ndop Plain in a community development role. The rest, as they say is history. See the waterforcameroon website.

I have gradually got used to the rural African understanding of time and projects. They seem to have no idea of projects, they see People and not projects – and they are correct. It was more than a little frustrating for me at first to understand this and of course I am still learning. I am convinced that I will never fully understand the mind set of these people, but I am very willing to try and understand. It is about people and not projects no matter how helpful these projects might be.  Now my project mind set is left in Ireland when I go to Ndop. It gradually became clear to me that  my primary role is to take a back seat and encourage the communities to develop their own ideas and support them in having those ideas come to fruition. To encourage them to think out their ideas, to help them put their plans into action. All the villages where we are helping with the hand dug wells are encouraged to have teams of people trained to be able to repair the wells as required. The villages select their trainees to work with the well constructor as the well is being built. All this is taking time to put together, but we are getting there very slowly.

Digging a well by hand

New well operational

Moulds for constructing Bio-Sand Filters

I try to apply this in the areas of the Bio Sand Filters, hand dug wells and small business project development. Supporting the Development Union in each of the ten villages to identify the people assets and  skills that are already available is the most challenging thing for me at the moment. It is a very slow process, but one that will eventually succeed. This approach is totally different to what I originally had in mind. I am convinced that this is the most effective way to support communities and individuals. I guess time will tell.

Mick is not a typical Wycliffe Bible Translators short term member, but hey, what’s typical in God’s Kingdom? To find out more how your skills or the desires that God gives you to serve could work with Wycliffe look at Latest Vacancies or One to One.

You’ll be able to browse to wee what else we are doing and you may be interested in the Wycliffe UK summer Engage teams – but the 19 March deadline is fast approaching!

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I found this video on Eddie Arthur’s blog entitled Have you done your Christmas shopping yet?

Eddie reckoned it was food for thought – and I agree.

It also reminded me of the work that Mick Toolin is doing on behalf of the Ndop Cluster in NW Cameroon… a project hoping to provide fresh water for the 10 Ndop villages – alongside Bible translation and literacy.

See here and here and here for my previous blogs on this subject.

Mick is currently in Cameroon with a team of Wycliffe Associates USA volunteers training people to  install bio-sand filters to turn existing sources of dirty water into clean drinkable water. Here are some extracts from an end of  November e-mail…

The Bio Filter training was a great success. We had two people from each village – more than twenty persons. The program was officially opened by a top government official who also came on his day off to close the programme.

We hope to have a new business for construction of the metal round moulds required for the construction of the concrete cylinders used for the Bio Filter.

Next stage is for the trainees to make the Bio Filters; this will be the difficult stage. All the trainees have a metal mould and all they require to begin production at their village.

The new well, started before I came, is now operational. We will have an official hand over on Monday and a big celebration organised by the community. The well that was constructed in Bafanji on my last visit in September is working fine – as is the one constructed in the Roman Catholic Health Centre.

You can also read more about the project directly on the Water for Cameroon website

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I’ve been posting quite a wee bit recently about the Ndop water project, but here is another angle on Bible translation as well digging from friend and colleague Peter Brassington.

digging wells is hard work

digging wells is hard work

Just as there is a lot of hard work digging wells before the fresh water appears…

Pure clean water

Pure clean water

… so there is the hard slog of linguistic analysis, translation, literacy, scripture use and all the other associated activities (perhaps including digging wells!) before the living water of God’s Word becomes available in a new language.

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Following up on my blog about friend and colleague Mick Toolin’s recent visit to Ndop, Mick has sent me some photos of the work going on there.

Mick writes…

Two wells of different construction types were made, they will be operational this week.
One was in Bafanji and the other in Ndop.

Final arrangements for the Bio Training program in November were put in place.

The last reference is to the BioSand water filtering systems that Mick plans to introduce alongside the well digging in the Ndop area.
Digging the well in Ndop town

Digging the well in Ndop town

Digging well No.1 in Bafanji

Digging well No.1 in Bafanji

Mick also told me about future plans…

We are planning to construct two more wells in November at the same time as the Bio Training.
Everything ( except funding ) is in place to construct the wells, sites have been surveyed, and  agreed with the communities etc.
We are praying that funds will be in place for November
Please pray with Mick for the funds to appear… and if you want to contribute, let me know.
Finally Mick also included a photo of  David and Pastor Edward at work in the Mesaw translation office.
David and Edward in the translation office in Mesaw

David and Edward in the translation office in Mesaw

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I’ve blogged about a water project in Ndop, NW Cameroon and floods in Burkina Faso – here’s a new twist on water from colleagues The Wisbeys.

Then, over the sound of the engine I hear a deep rumble – either I’m very hungry or I can hear something coming. I stop and listen and there it is again. Again it’s at these kind of times that I’m likely to say something silly like “hey, I can hear God. He’s coming to help, just round the corner”.

Read the whole story here – God is good!

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I wrote a wee while ago about a day out with Mick Toolin during my time in Ndop in February 2009.
Mick gathering information about wtaer supplies in Bafanji

Mick gathering information about water supplies in Bafanji

Mick Toolin from the Blackwells’ church in Dublin is here with us at the moment on his second trip, visiting all ten Ndop villages and researching how many people live in each quarter and what water provision exists. Read more

Well, Mick has been back in Ndop for a few weeks in September. He has two new wells being dug and he is setting things up for a future visit when he will be discussing plans for sand filter water purification schemes in some of the ten Ndop villages. Anyway, he recently sent me an e-mail in which he told a few stories and was wrestling with issues that an Irishman, still fairly new to Africa, has to wrestle with.

Still hard to get used to the poverty here especially in the area we are working in. The people here are so resilient. I don’t know how I would cope in their position.
I was with Pastor Edward in the village the other day.
Edward & Prisca with their twins Victor and Victory

Edward & Prisca with their twins Victor and Victory

He arrived at the house at 7 am and I took him to collect 10 huge bags of corn on the cob from a field in the middle of the bush. Each bag is about 40 kilos. I don’t know why they don’t make the bags smaller. It would be so much easier to carry, at least for this white man. It took about 2 hours, then we came back to house.
Edward went to clean up and later returned to the office in the house that serves as the translation office to work for a few hours. Then he is went off to visit his people and prepare for meetings. It’s a hard life for him.
Mick then told me the story about the capture of a local goat thief outside the Blackwells’ house in Mesaw where Mick is staying…
Last week, early on Monday morning about 1 am there was some commotion on the track outside the house.
It seems that a young man in the quarter stole a goat and was apprehended by two other men who were out looking to see if they could catch the thief, as they had a goat stolen the previous week. They reasoned that the thief would strike again.
They were right and they caught him red handed. They wrestled with him to the ground and then decided they would take him to the town to the police. This is about a 3 hour walk. The young man pleaded for mercy.
His father was summoned to the scene, and he also pleaded for mercy. So they took him to the Quarter head who was not in the humour to sort things out, so suggested they go to the police. The quarter head is supposed to help resolve such matters…
However, next on the scene was Vincent a neighbour, he is wanting to help, but gets a little excited when he discovers that the stolen goat in question actually belongs to him. So Vincent decides that there is only one thing to do, call Pastor Edward. So Edward is brought to the scene, eventually an arrangement is reached— another long story in itself.
While this was all going on, Edward had knocked on my door  to get me to take a photo of the thief and record it all. Of course I was out for the count and did not hear a thing – having driven a 10 hour journey from Yaounde and stopped for some meetings on the way. I could have slept on a barbed wire fence that night.

So all ended at 5 am. Pastor Edward returned to bed for two hours and was then up to work for another long hard day.

And so, Mick continues to support the Ndop Bible translation and literacy project through facilitating improved water supplies in the area… as well as learning a great deal about living and working in a different culture.

Could you use your skills with Wycliffe?

Would you like a short term experience with us?

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20 february 2009

The Ndop Team certainly do not live in linguistic ivory towers. How could they when Cameroonians elsewhere apparently sum up the Ndop Plain in the words “No development or progress”! Water has been scarce this dry season and pumps are producing less water from the Bamunka wells. A few days ago we had to limit how many water containers we filled at the nearby pump in Mesaw so that others could have some water too.

Mick and girl at Bamunka Well No.1

Mick and girl at Mesaw well

Dan Grove told me the story of how a government minister appeared out of the blue at his house in Bambalang one day. “Uhuh, what have I done to deserve this?” he wondered. In fact the “big man” was visiting friends in the village and had come to thank Dan for providing a well on the roadside near his compound so that people returning from their fields could have a drink. His actions had been appreciated, so much so that the story had got to important ears.

Mick Toolin from the Blackwells’ church in Dublin is here with us at the moment on his second trip, visiting all ten Ndop villages and researching how many people live in each quarter and what water provision exists. The picture is very varied: from SNEC piped water to standpipes and taps in Ndop town and elsewhere – which is great, but not totally reliable; to wells, some with pumps and some not; to muddy streams; to standing pools of quite disgusting looking water. But people need water to live and they get it where they can – whether they are aware of the dangers of dirty water or not.

Mick discusses stad pipe water supply

Mick discusses stand pipe water supply

A few days ago I took a trip with Mick to visit Bafanji to research the water situation there. En route we chatted with a blacksmith who makes guns for “cry dies” (traditional ceremonies which take place after someone dies and these guns are fired into the air). This man had a tap right beside his house. Further along we met three children emerging from the undergrowth with water containers. They had been down a steep bank to a muddy little stream to get their family supply for the day.

Boy collecting drinking water from muddy pool

Boy collecting drinking water from muddy pool

In a few days time, the Ndop team will have planning meetings here at Mbingo Rest House and on the agenda will be how to progress what Mick has found out. There is no way that good wells can be provided everywhere on the Ndop Plain – so which villages are strategic in terms of both local needs and the literacy and translation strategy? For example a Canadian family will soon return to live in Bafanji where water provision is not great and they will have three children aged three and under. Mick is also proposing some water filtration trials to make dirty water supplies safer for people. And then the money to fund it all will need to be found…

It’s like Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. She needed physical water to survive, but Jesus also offered her the Living Water of a saving relationship with himself. And that’s why the Ndop Team is seeking to provide both fresh water and spiritual water as they work towards Bible translation in all ten Ndop languages.

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