Monday, September 15, 2008

Televised Chicken

We had a rather quiet weekend, except for the rooster crowing in our courtyard every morning, a gift from Pastor Emmanuel. We took to calling him “Stew” :) We finally ended up giving him to one of our guards as a gift, something they appreciate since meat in their diet is a rare occasion.

For supper on Saturday night, we decided to get some “poulet télévisé”, which translates literally as “televised chicken”! Haha, that’s not exactly what it is, but it’s close :) It’s roast chickens, up to 6-7 on a large skewer (yeah, they’re small chickens!), slowly turning in a large upright oven with a light in the back and glass doors on the front. That’s kind of a television, isn’t it? This makes them easily visible from the roadside at suppertime when it’s already dark outside.

The trick is looking for them while driving on a road that is full of other traffic. You need eyes all around your head to watch out not only for things going in the same direction that you are, but also going the wrong way or crossing blindly in front of you. In addition, many of these things, like motos, bicycles, pedestrians, donkey carts, and even some cars and trucks, have absolutely no lights on them at all! I told Kathy that from now on, she needs to come with me so that I can concentrate on watching the road. As it was, I nearly mowed down two cyclists, one traveling the wrong way and another cutting unexpectedly in front of me!

Late this past Friday afternoon, we had our scheduled meeting with our Director. Kathy & I weren’t the only ones there, at least for the first half hour. Hamadou had asked if he could come to the meeting to explain things from the Kusassi point of view. So the first half hour was spent with him and the Director discussing the Kusassi’s desire for the Scriptures and language development, their involvement so far, and the nature and purpose of the Kusassi association that is in the process of being formed.

Following this, the Director and Kathy & I discussed the planned involvement of the national Bible translation organization (ANTBA) in the work, and what impact the Kusassi association would have on that. While the potential for collaborative achievement is great, concerns were raised about some fundamental differences in approach between the two organizations. We’re not aware of any other case in Burkina Faso where a language community like the Kusassi are willing and determined to take charge of their own language development and Bible translation, and are organizing an association for the purpose of doing so. This doesn’t mean that they won’t be inviting organizations like SIL and ANTBA to help them where they need help, but they’d like to be the ones sitting in the driver’s seat. It is, after all, their language.

A cause for concern lies in the fact that the national Bible translation organization is not really accustomed to working with such a group in this way. We’re praying that they will see this as a great opportunity to help equip and empower a local language community to carry our their own language development and translation work. That’s the approach Kathy & I have been taking so far, an approach that is both taught and encouraged by our organization worldwide for reasons of dignity, ownership, and sustainability. However, not all organizations involved in language development and Bible translation practice this approach yet.

We have a meeting with ANTBA late on Tuesday afternoon (tomorrow) to begin discussions on the future of the Kusaal Project and our role in it. Please pray with us!

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