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Kim Knight in the Solomon Islands, April 2004
The days start early in the Solomon Islands villages. The chooks are fighting over some scraps; the roosters are trying to out cock-a-doodle-doo each other and all manner of other bird life is chirping and tweeting into action.
We arrived here at Tingge village at dusk last night, having come by dinghy from the 'airport' at Seghe. Depending on which measure you use, Seghe is 20 km, 45 minutes, 10 litres of outboard fuel or 1 language from here.
I am travelling with Jones Sanga, the LRI man in the Solomons and we have been on the move for 5 weeks and have made recordings in 5 languages. We have come to Tingge to record the Good News and Songs in the VANGUNU language.
As always, the Solomons is a place of contrasts. There are places of great beauty and then walking tracks of slippery mud; great enthusiasm and support for what we are doing and then frustrating indifference; pouring rain one minute and steaming heat the next. The work is challenging but Bible teaching resources are very scarce, so we must do what we can to produce our recordings for the people of the Solomon Islands.
Our task today has been to arrange for the involvement of people here at Tingge and also at nearby Ninive (Nineveh), in the translation and recording program. Negotiations were difficult as an old woman died this morning and the chief of Ninive declared that his village would not be involved in our work. However, through some appropriate diplomacy, he was urged to change his mind. Praise the Lord, he did! During these discussions, we played the Words of Life recording in the VANGUNU language made by Don Richter in 1954. The people were very interested in it and said that the language is good and easy to understand, though it has some occasional influences from two other languages. They recognised the speaker and said that he is still alive.
Suitable translators from both villages have now offered to help and they will start their work in the next couple of days. Meanwhile, we will ensure that our solar panels are put to good use charging batteries ready for the recording phase. There has been a lot of cloud and rain lately so the batteries are low.
We were well fed at Ninive then we made our way back along by the sea, through rivers and jungle, admiring the beauty of the Lord's handiwork.
Our program over the last few weeks has been all go, so it will be good to rest up a bit while the translation is being done. This will mean some swimming, some reading and undoubtedly some talking. The Solomon Islanders love to 'story'. And they 'story' about all manner of things. They have some fascinating history from the headhunting days; there is lots to share about the early missionaries and there is any amount of detail to be passed around about who is married to whom, where they come from etc etc. These stories are implanted in the minds of the younger people by being told over and over.
Two days later...
Very little has happened in the translation work because of the death of the old lady. People have been grieving and, of course, making preparations for her funeral. We were able to make radio contact with the airline this morning and extend our stay here by two days. The people have promised to help us after the funeral is over! In the meantime, what to do? ...