Friday, August 14, 2015

Alphabet workshop

August 4 we had an orthography (alphabet) workshop with representatives from all areas of our language group.  We met up in a village about an hour's boat ride north of us, Makam.  We were very pleased with the turnout of 74 leaders from all areas of North Ambrym, in addition to Kindy and class 1/1st Grade teachers from every school.

We presented the full alphabet which is fairly different from English,
and made a book for the pre-K/K and 1st grade classes with sample words/sentences using each sound in the alphabet.  Here are a few pages:
 "The centipede is biting."  "Freshwater shrimp/praun/crayfish."
 "Sleeping house" "The call goes up."
 "Sleep is good."  "The fire is alight."
 "The pig is rooting."  "The bird is flying."
"Ana's knife."  "The worm is squirming/rolling."

We presented this alphabet book as well as a workbook highlighting why we chose the various letters for each sound and how they contrast, such as "e" with "ee."
"Meeting for the Rral alphabet" book and "Rral's alphabet" book.

 Logistics for the workshop was headed up by Jones (pronounced like Jonas), who is the head of curriculum for the school district of North Ambrym.  His help in organizing the workshop was invaluable.  He invited the majority of the participants (after helping identify who would be best to invite), set up the venue, organized the cooking and food, and was MC for the event.  We are so grateful for his help in these areas!
 Guys sitting in the back.  We hope to further involve the chief in the yellow shirt in this picture.  He was very vocal in the meeting and had lots of great input.
 Lembunu (Kindy teacher in Fanto, a village about 20 minutes from us), Jenita (a Kindy teacher in our village), and I leading the song that goes with the alphabet book.  Sorry, I forgot to get it recorded!
 Philip Joses demonstrated how an experienced reader sounds as he read through one of the Children's Bible stories.  Everyone is concerned that their language is difficult to read (because they've never read it), so we hope to have further workshops to get people practicing, and also show them good readers and how they can sound with a bit of practice.  We've tentatively scheduled follow-up workshops to practice we we taught in October and November, using Children's Bible stories.
Houghton discussing the various sounds in the alphabet.
About 3/4 of the participants came to the workshop by boat.  We were able to use the Translation Committee boat for this, which worked out great!  Those from villages near to Makam walked, and the rest came by Ian's truck.  Ian, who helped us build our house a few years ago, has been back and forth a lot the last year or so building a school and staff homes for a school in the far northeastern villages of our language group.  His supporters helped him get a truck over to haul supplies from the cargo ship drop site to the school site.  He has helped us out several times with this truck and did so again, bringing people from the NE side of the island over to the workshop.
 A men's group from one of the Oz churches that support BuildAid ministries (Ian's crew) also made a bunch of wooden toys/games that we passed out at the end of the workshop.  The pre-K/K schools and 1st Grace teachers each got 2 tic-tac-toe boards to play with and a wooden whistle.  We taught the teachers how to play tic-tac-toe, and then had fun playing at the coral beach while we waited for our ride after the workshop.  Here's Addy playing with Rrorrin.
Jenita, one of the Kindy teachers, (and Rrorrin's mom), playing with Gwen.  Jenita is also the wife of George, one of our main language helpers and translators.

Praise God with us for this start to literacy in a before unwritten language, and pray for local motivation and interest in reading now as we prepare to introduce parts of God's word.

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