October 30, 2009

Celebrate Every Day!

Orjaga eja.
Orna eja.
Orjaga eja gu mod.
Orna eja gu efen mod.
Orna jera orjaga gega gu gegan mod.

This is a page from one of the early primers I made to use in teaching the Meyah people to read.  See October 3 Post  for information on my missionary work in Irian Jaya, Indonesia.

The Bible was in the process of being translated into the Meyah Language.  The people needed to be able to read these scriptures.

The primers used words and pictures of  Meyah kinds-of-things like sweet potatos, bows and arrows, pigs, cooking fires, and village houses.

The books told stories about everydayish events.  They told about a woman going to her garden to work for the day, or lighting her fire for cooking and warmth.  One book told of a man hunting for a wild pig, or making a bow or arrow.

We were located in a mountainous area.  Meya-speaking villages were spread for miles and miles from the central village of Testega.  So we had teacher-learner classes for a few Meyahs who traveled to Testega from the surrounding villages.  They came to learn how to teach their own villagers to read and write their own Meyah Language.

Some of those fellows lived a three or four days journey away.  They climbed trails that wove in and out, and up and down the mountains.  They balanced their way over logs across streams, and occasionally cut their way through grown-over brush.

In Testega, they worked to improve their own ability to read and write.  They also learned how to teach others to read and write by practicing on one another in class.  Then they returned to their own villages to teach their people to read and write in their tribal Meyah language.

I  was just thinking about how I used a small manual typewriter to type the books on stencils.  Later I spent hours turning the handle of the old mimeograph machine to duplicate the books. It was simply the way we had to do things.

Back then, I never even dreamed of the convenience and possibilities the internet would eventually give me.  Why, I can just do a simple search, and  get 2,759,354  responses!  I can order anything I want just by sitting at my computer and ordering it on line.  I can even carry that computer with me!  I can shop for birthday gifts without leaving my house.  And Christmas shopping has never been easier.

The Meyahs would certainly never have believed all this.  But then, I'm not sure I would have, either!

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