Teaching Science and Fun

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I’m not a science teacher but sometimes science is a great way to expand the mind and it lends itself to basic literacy and numeracy as well.  Lately, we’ve done a couple fun experiments and art projects that all center around plants.  These projects also make the classroom more colorful.  They include color changing carnations, flower parts and a happy tree with hand print leaves.  Happy fall and happy learning everyone!

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Flashback to 2011- Life in Walagu

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4 years ago today, I was in Walagu (the main Onobasulu village in PNG) fighting with the sun for power and trying to get curriculum work done with the Onobasulu despite many setbacks and crazy things happening in the village around us.  My co-worker Beverly and I were joined by a student named Jenny who was completely surprised at the wide variety of tasks we needed to do on a daily basis that had little or nothing to do with the translation or literacy work.  It makes sense that we would help the people we were serving and working with in a wide variety of areas but working as an electrician and a nurse were not on my resume.  But sometimes you just have to make it work.

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In this post from June 29th, I wrote about learning the difference between “bulk and float voltage” as well as connecting batteries with solar panels.  Taking care of big batteries and connecting solar panels is not a normal task in my life now but it was just a part of village life in PNG.  Who knows, maybe this will come in handy again some day:-)

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In the post, I also wrote about all the medical issues we were dealing with (ear infections, terrible boils and sores as well as a broken arm).  At this point we didn’t realize that Beverly would eventually set the broken with directions I was getting from an emergency phone call/radio session with a doctor in Ukarumpa.  Despite all the health care issues in the US, nothing compares to the problems that arise when people lack basic things like soap and access to the most basic medical care.  Seriously, how do you keep a little boy, who lives and plays in the dirt, clean when his bathtub is a river with muddy banks!?

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Although I don’t miss the wet feet, odd infections and strange stresses of life in PNG.  I do miss the people and the part of my job description that read “play with small children every chance you get”.  The pictures in this post were taken from a July 30th post that happened once we got back to Ukarumpa.  Since we were using HF radio to send emails in the village, posting to the blog with pictures was practically impossible.  But I was thankful for the power we did have to send text only blog updates via email.

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Even though I’m now back in the US, the Onobasulu people are still living and working in their communities in PNG.  Please continue to pray for the Onobasulu people.  Pray for health, community unity and successful, continued work on Bible Translation, literacy and education.

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Selling PNG and Other Onobasulu Changes

The Onobasulu Bible Translation program is once again going through some changes.  Progress is being made with the Bible Translation and Literacy among other important steps for the greater Onobasulu community.  But there are challenges to face and hurdles to overcome.  These cover the gamut from logistics to finances and even emotions as these changes impact all parts of the greater Onobasulu community.

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The main factor at the forefront right now is the decision for the main ex-pat Bible translator, Beverly, to change her assignment and work from Texas, this means selling her home and car in PNG.  Anne also works on the translation away from PNG, so now the two main expat Bible Translators will be primarily living and working in their home countries, the USA and the Netherlands.  There will still be a home in the village, the Walagu Lodge, but Beverly will (pending the sale) no longer have her Ukarumpa house.  Please be in prayer for Beverly because selling her home is a huge emotional step and it means saying good-bye to a big part of her PNG life.  Please pray that both the house and the car sell quickly and that she has the time and energy to clean out her house and take the things she needs to back to the US and store what needs to be stored in PNG.

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This is Beverly in her car, in front of her house, filled with the Onobasulu co-workers.  You can see Joseph’s pink jacket in the back.  Beverly loves pink (did you notice the pink house!?) and the Onobasulu guys also have an affinity for pink.  It definitely makes Joseph easy to spot in a crowd.

Because Beverly will no longer be in PNG full-time, the Onobasulu program will have to rely even more heavily on the Onobasulu people themselves.  This is a very good thing but it also means the translators need more training in order to prepare themselves for the work.  Beverly is currently in PNG helping Wabele, Joseph, Yobe and Jack get through another important training course.  This course will give them key knowledge in order to do more of the translation work on their own.  They of course know the Onobasulu language but Bible translation requires knowledge of Greek, exegesis, hermeneutics and many other difficult concepts.  These four men have been attending these courses for years now, slowly learning and working along the way.  However, this was an extra course that they had not planned on attending for awhile so they are currently underfunded and need another 90% of their costs.  If you feel led to give please donate at Wycliffe.org, every little bit helps.  This money will go directly to fund the national Onobasulu translators and help them become more prepared for the huge task of Bible translation.

Most importantly please pray for the Onobasulu program.  Please pray for Beverly as she is transitioning to a home assignment.  Please pray for the Onobasulu translators: Wabele, Jack, Yobe and Joseph.  And the Onobasulu literacy guys: Hauwo and Jeffery.  Please pray for their families.  Pray also that God would raise up another generation to help them translate and continue the literacy program for the Onobasulu people.  Please pray for a smooth transition and for God to provide people on the ground in PNG to help with communication and some logistical challenges with having no full-time expat co-workers in PNG.  And finally please pray that God would continue to be glorified through the Onobasulu language and that people would come to know Him because of this life changing work.

Update on Osa and Other Onobasulu Prayers and Praises

I’m happy to report that Osa is doing well after her snake bite last week which you can read about here: An Urgent Prayer Request From PNG.  She’s back in Walagu and there is no venom in her system.  This is a huge praise!  There are a lot of reasons they did not find venom even though there were bite marks on her leg, maybe it wasn’t a death adder that bit her, maybe the bandaging worked or the snake that bit her had already bit something else recently so the venom wasn’t strong.  Whatever reason, the prayers worked and we are glad that she didn’t have to have the full anti-venom shots which can often be very hard on the body.  Her husband Wabele (pictured below on the computer) was with her at the hospital which is also a praise.

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Another praise is that we think the cost of the helicopter and treatment is going to be covered by the oil company’s community affairs fund.  This is basically money that is set aside to help the communities that they impact.  This is a huge praise because the cost of helicopters alone is astronomical.

While we’re praising God, let’s praise him that it seems like the Onobasulu airstrip is open again after two years of being closed.  It has had major work done on it by the Onobasulu people and the first SIL plane will land there next week to check it out.  Praise God that the Onobasulu may be able to use their airstrip instead of walking from another airstrip or paying the high cost of helicopters.  Having the airstrip open greatly benefits the work of Bible Translation as well as the community in general.

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Please continue to keep the Onobasulu people in your prayers.  Work on the Onobasulu Bible translation and other scripture use materials is happening, people are hearing the gospel and learning more about the Bible.  All of these things invite spiritual warfare.  Another one of the workers named Hauwo (pictured below) has also been in the hospital with ongoing back pain, after a bad fall last year.  He has been involved with the translation and literacy work from the beginning.  Please pray for a full and quick recovery.

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These three pictures in this post are of the 6 main Onobasulu workers- Joseph, Yobe, Jack, Wabele, Jeffery and Hauwo.  Please pray for them by name and their families as the work pushes forward.  Please pray for safety.  Please pray for good health.  Please pray for protection and care for these families as well as the entire Onobasulu community.  You’re continued prayers support the work of Bible translation.  Thank you!

An Urgent Prayer Request From PNG

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Please pray for Osa, the wife of one of our Onobasulu translators.  She was bitten by a death adder and thanks to a number of extraordinary circumstances (praise God!) is at a hospital that has anti-venom and is being treated.  It’s surprisingly hard to find a hospital with the right stuff and death adder bites are deadly and need to be treated as soon as possible.  These snakes are not erroneously named.  Please pray that the venom doesn’t enter her torso and that no lasting damage will be done.

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Please also pray for the Onobasulu Bible translation.  Many unfortunate circumstances are slowing down the translation progress.  Osa being bit by a snake, another literacy co-worker in the hospital with chronic headaches (possibly the result of a serious fall last year) and the American translator getting sick enough that she couldn’t fly back to PNG as planned, are just some examples of the series of events that leave us feeling spiritually attacked and oppressed.  Even though I am in the US, my heart breaks for the Onobasulu, especially for the main workers and their families who seem to bear the brunt of these attacks.  Even Osa is not just a translator’s wife but also someone who has helped us record scripture (it’s not a given that Onobasulu women can read and even if they can read, many women aren’t fluent enough to record scripture).  She supports the translation work in so many ways.

The translators have recently finished working on Thessalonians.  And 2 Thessalonians 2 is very clear about some of the lies and ways Satan will seek to thwart God’s work.  Please pray for the Onobasulu.  Pray that the translation work would move forward and God’s word would have a powerful impact on the community.  Please pray for Osa, that she would heal fully and praise God for all the extraordinary events that allowed her to get to the hospital as quickly as she did.  Thank you for participating in caring for the Onobasulu through your prayers!

ESL Christmas Cheer

Today was my last day subbing for the adult ESL class.  We still did some learning but all the exercises were done with red and green pens for just a little festive flair.  We also listened to Christmas carolers from the other classes and a couple of my students brought in some delicious food so we had our own little celebration.

CarolingIn the new year, the regular teacher will be back and I will return to subbing for many different classes.  I’m glad that I had the opportunity to get to know these students better by seeing them on a regular basis.  And it was very fun to kick off Christmas break with some food and unscripted time together.

 

“My” Classroom

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Welcome to my classroom.  Well, it’s not really my classroom because another teacher uses it for the evening class and I’m just the substitute for the morning class.  But for the next three weeks, at least, I will be teaching the morning ESL class for pre-literate students.  I’ve already been subbing for this class part-time and I jumped at the chance to take over the class full-time when the other substitute needed to back out due to prior commitments.

The students in this class are great.  They are adults from the surrounding community and include Spanish and Thai speakers.  We’re doing very basic English but it’s fun to watch the students discover and help them with the challenges of English.

Taking Literacy for Granted

I read everyday.  I read street signs.  I read labels.  I read my Bible.  I read other books.  And i’m sure I read a lot of other things that I don’t even notice because I can.  If you’re reading this than you’re most likely in the same boat as I am.  We can read.  But not everyone has this luxury.

Literacy has the ability to open doors and change lives.  In the United States we have a school system that allows for a very high literacy rate.  There are people who can’t read or don’t read well but it’s rare.  However, this isn’t true in many other countries.  In Papua New Guinea each language group and village has a different literacy story.  Some have had access to education for many years while others have only had access to local schools more recently and women tend to be the last to gain access to education.

Even with my background in literacy, I still take my ability to read for granted.  But I was recently reminded of the challenge in PNG when I received an email from a friend still working there.  She asked for prayer for adult women’s literacy classes that were starting in a local village.

IMG_5020When I was in PNG we had trouble finding women in the village who were strong enough readers to help us record scripture portions.  Some women had the opportunity to go to school but many did not.  And even those who were educated didn’t have many books or opportunities to practice their reading skills.  We recorded scriptures as well as some healthcare literature because of the low literacy rate.  But it’s still the desire to have as many people be able to read as possible.

The desire and need is the same in my friend’s area of PNG.  She started a couple of reading classes with a few women and sine these women didn’t have access to education when they were younger (literacy classes first began in 2008), they are very eager and motivated.  My friend’s training and work is not in literacy and she doesn’t live in the village full time so she can’t continue teaching literacy classes on a regular basis.  Despite this challenge the women have agreed to continue meeting with the help of a local woman who is eager to teach but has very little training.  However, this women is motivated and has her husband (who is educated) to support and help her.  It’s encouraging to see the possibility for literacy to grow in this group of older women.

Literacy in PNG succeeds when people are motivated and have the basic tools to help and teach each other.  But there are many obstacles to overcome.  Time will tell how these classes go but for now the village needs a lot of prayer.  So when you find yourself reading, take a moment to remember those who can’t.  Please be in prayer for literacy all over the world but specifically for PNG and for the ladies in my friend’s village.

Going Crazy for Curriculum

For those of you who don’t know, part of my part-time job is developing curriculum for an online ESL school.  Teaching English through the computer is a great use of technology but the classroom takes on a whole different feel.  Activities have to be modified and lesson plans have to be innovative but that’s what makes it interesting.  In the end students get the benefits of using new technology and having a native English speaking teacher.

I’ve just spent the last couple hours sorting through ESL videos and working on the structure for the latest set of ESL lessons.  Since the first lessons are geared towards younger learners, the videos and activities need to be energetic and engaging.  For example an example of the ideas we pull from, you can check out this YouTube video (The Shake Shake Song) from MapleLeafLearning.  I like it because it combines the new body part vocabulary with actions and singing.  You can’t listen to this song without doing a little shake!

whatdoyoulikesongAnd I also have been getting to know the characters and people in the videos that we tend to draw from.  This is Marty Moose.  He is from Canada. He knows how to make pizza and ski and play the guitar.  He’s a pretty talented moose.

Although the work can sometimes be tedious because organization, consistency and cohesion make a curriculum easy to use and follow, it’s great to be able to be creative once again and take advantage of my multi-tasking mind.  I’m thankful for a job that I enjoy, where I can learn and also create.

 

Yellow Roses and June Gloom

This morning was cool and overcast signaling the start of “June Gloom“.  But as I walked out of the house to substitute teach, I was greeted by a bush filled with yellow roses.  These sunny, lovely smelling roses made my morning.

IMG_0325When I got to the school, the marine layer was already breaking up.  And I walked into the classroom to find a lesson plan all about the weather and June Gloom.  It was fun to discuss the weather with the students as well as learn about some of the causes of June Gloom.  We discussed the meaning of ‘onshore’ and ‘offshore’, ‘clockwise’ and ‘counterclockwise’ and something called the ‘Catalina eddy’.  This was a useful topic for the students because the weather is something that is discussed a lot and it’s something we have to live through.  The consensus was that because most of them come from much warmer places, they enjoy the generally cooler weather found on the Southern California Coast.

I personally would rather deal with June Gloom than the Santa Ana winds.  There is something beautiful about walking along a cool, overcast beach in the summer.  I think this week might deserve a beach trip.  A cool beach and yellow roses.  A lovely start to summer.  Happy beginning of June everyone!