I’ve been spending my language time recently transcribing audio recordings of Kovol stories that are about 100-200 words long. I started to feel like I was spinning my wheels a bit. I’d take a fresh story, work on it for 1-3 days and then I’d be done and would move on. It felt a bit like I was putting lots of time into writing these stories down, only to nibble on them just a tiny bit before moving on. It’s also a pure comprehension exercise because there’s no way I can speak anything like the fluent Kovol I see in stories.
Voice recorders are great things. Every day or two we’re using them to record phrases, stories, explanations and vocabulary lists. Often we record things above our current level and we’re able to come back to it later.
One such story was this little myth about how Sigol and Peme – ancestors of the Kovol people, possibly even the first people (they’re not sure) saw how the birds lived in homes and decided to steal them. This explains why people are civilized and live in houses, and birds live out in the jungle.
I’ve done the 20-minute hike to the village and then back again 5 times this week and the time spent plodding up and down the mountains gives me lots of time to think and process it all. We’re so glad to be able to serve here. Gradually day by day and week by week we become more and more familiar with what’s going on, we’re learning to communicate and we’re eagerly looking forward to starting literacy classes, and translating and teaching God’s word.
As my leg muscles burned on the climbs for the fifth day this week I was just thinking “it’s worth it”. The medicine I’m able to bring will probably save this guy’s life. In the stories I got from the family they referred to me as “mo”, meaning brother (from outside my clan). We’re starting to belong and soon we’ll be able to share the gospel with them which will tell them how deeply loved and valued they are by God.
I would love to put Oscar in school and let him experience all the benefits that come with that, but that’s not possible and I actually also see the benefits of homeschooling him, spending much time with him and seeing him learn. So I’m ending the week positive, but very, very tired and ready for a sleep 😉