I’m super excited to announce that literacy classes started on Monday! It is so lovely to see how, by the grace of God, the Canns have worked so diligently and have now come to the point of Cass teaching our people to read and write nDo. A LOT of work has been put into realising this literacy course – more than a blog post can do justice to!
First the Canns did surveys throughout our village, gathering information about who knows how to read and write the local trade language, Tok Pisin.
Then Zach and Cassidy sat down with numerous leaders from surrounding nDo villages to establish a nDo alphabet.
Cassidy then created literacy booklets – and immense task! And also a teacher’s manual – to guide future teachers through the steps of teaching nDo literacy, when we hand that job over to them.
She, Zach, and the village people worked on post primers, which short books that the people can read after they’ve finished the literacy course.
A literacy class building was erected by our people over a period of 5 weeks. Our village leader worked exceptionally hard on this building. On Saturday all the things needed for the class was put into the classroom.
Invitations were extended to 15 students, inviting each one of them individually. These 15 students got chosen based on clan and area (some hamlets are as far as a 45 minute hike away… at least, for us they take that long to reach!) The goal is to have a literate person in each clan and area, so that, when Zach starts doing Bible lessons, the literate person would be able to read the lessons to the people after the teaching sessions.
The picture below is Zach giving them “bush rope” with knots in them. They untied a knot every day, and when all the knots were untied, they knew that it was the first day of literacy class!
And now, Cassidy has started teaching the people to read and write in nDo. Before these literacy classes started, I thought “I don’t even know how I’ll start to teach someone in my home language how to read and write!” Today, she’s finished teaching day number 4, and she is doing an excellent job. I get to do the easy job – reviewing their homework and drawing smiley faces in their books.
There is still a lot to be done – for the next 3 1/2 months, Cassidy will be teaching these 15 students. Our prayer is that a teacher will be raised up from these 15 students to teach the next round of students in February, 2020. That teacher will need to be trained too.
We will also continue to produce more reading materials to improve their reading ability after they’ve completed the course.
And then, we are praying that people in every one of the nDo speaking villages will become literate in their first language! Why this desire? Why is literacy so important to us? Because God’s Word is precious, more precious than the most precious gold and sweeter than the most sweetest honey (Psalm 19:7-11) and we want them to be able to themselves read it some day.
I’m reading through John G. Paton’s autobiography, and He has recorder how the Aneityumese people too has seen how precious this Word of God is, and how they have laboured to get it into their own language.
What an encouragement for us too to love God’s Word like these Aneityumese people did, as I pray and long for these people to someday love it, and like Jeremiah did when he said in Jeremiah 15:16 – “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts.”