Capable mid

It was finally time for our long overdue language test. Over a month ago or so we had arranged for this language test, but bad weather meant the helicopter couldn’t get in. This time around we had miserable weather again, but it opened up just enough for the helicopter to get in. The next 2 days were intense for our language consultants as they met with us and took us through our paces in language evaluations.

Story comparison

In preparation for our language test next week our language consultants asked us to prepare a little something. They asked us to speak a story into a recorder about an event we experienced together with a Kovol friend. We then need to ask the Kovol friend to tell the same story, write them both down and be ready to compare them.

Office time

As language learners, time spent working on our computers processing language material is necessary, but we make sure it’s not the only thing we do. With that in mind Monday was a hike out to Kumus, a village about an hour and a half away. I don’t look forward to these big hikes that much, but whenever I do them it’s very refreshing to get away from the 4 walls of our house and experience the rainforest. We are in the “big bush”, as we say in the Kovol language. We are in a remote patch of rainforest, yet it’s so easy to get into the mindset of just grinding out the language learning hours week after week and failing to take it in. I can easily end up seeing the 4 walls of my office all the time and miss the whole rainforest thing.

The death adder

I went over to Kavaluku and borrowed his machete thinking that I’d cut the snake’s head off just in case it still had some life in it! I raised the machete and swung and struck true, catching it full force on its skull. At that point, I realised it was very much a live snake as it thrashed around! I find it amazing that I didn’t miss my mark, my aim is usually terrible!

Garden trip

Gerdine is quite busy most of the time looking after Oscar, Alice and Millie. We don’t have any baby sitters on hand and so one of us is always busy with them. When I’m spending my day learning language that leaves Gerdine trying to get home-school done with Oscar while simultaneously looking after two 2-year-olds! It’s no surprise then that her language ability hasn’t improved as much as my own. What’s great though is that she’s found the motivation again and wants to push to achieve the next level in speaking ability in the Kovol language for our next check.

Cloudy weather

Unfortunately however just as the helicopter was approaching on Friday clouds came over and covered our ridge top meaning the helicopter was unable to land. We heard it circling around looking for a way in, but it never found one. It had to return home and our language evaluation was cancelled. We don’t have a new date lined up yet, but whenever it will be it will be after the Hansen family leave.

Gospel to the dying

On Wednesday evening our team met and concluded that the only thing we could really do for her was to visit her and share the Gospel with her. We had no knowledge or medicines that would help and using a helicopter to move her out to town wasn’t really an option.

We have special visitors this week!

For the blog this week I decided to have a sit and chat with them. Over coffee for an hour I put my voice recorder on record and asked them their impressions. I’ve taken the liberty of summarising and writing their answers, so what you’re reading is my own summary of what they said – I’m sure they’ll correct me if I got something wrong!

Dealing with sickness

I’ve been working through a batch of 7 different interviews asking Kovol friends questions like “why do we get sick?”, “what’s the vocabulary for blindess?”, “how does someone become crazy?”, “what should you do if a venomous snake bites you?” and “what should you do to look after your brother if he’s really sick?” among other questions.

Journey back to Kovol

We’ve been out in Goroka for several weeks, and it’s also been several weeks since we posted a blog. We decided to film the journey in as a way to get started blogging again and to give an impression of what it’s like arriving back in the bush.