By Jill Weatherhead
During a recent visit to PNG, I spent some time helping a group of nine Papua New Guinean men learn to use laptop computers. The course was an introduction to computers and to a software program called Paratext. These nine men represented six language groups that PBT works with in PNG. Led by Lindy Pate, the course ran for nine days and was taught in Tok Pisin, the trade language. Michelle Moore, Kevin Duplechin, and I were assistants.
Some of these men first had to learn how to turn on and off a computer; one of the basic lessons I taught was about mouse pointers. I hadn’t really thought about the various “pointers” of the mouse. I am sure at some point in time I learned the difference between the mouse pointer and the cursor. I read over my prepared notes before getting up to teach and felt that I had good examples to begin.
I started out explaining “pointer” and then moved on to talk about the arrow pointer ‘spia’ (spear) and the edit pointer ‘bar i gat stik’ (bar with sticks). I had to back up and explain what a cursor (the blinking stick) was and that this was not part of the mouse’s movements. As an interesting cultural note, some of the men called the “mouse” the “rat.”
Throughout my few minutes of teaching, there was often a question that showed there was some missing information on their part. My answer was always, “You will learn more about that in the coming days.” And they did.
It was exciting to be part of this course and to watch these men become equipped to put the data of their language work directly into the computer instead of relying on someone else to do so as time allows. It will also be an important skill as they move through the various steps of translation checking that will occur as they work both in translating their New Testament books and working in literacy.
These were just a sample of men chosen to participate. There are many more wanting to learn, but at present there are not enough people to run the courses. The hope is to run part two of this course later in the year.
Pray for these nine men, for increased opportunity for them as well as for others to gain skills such as typing, computer use, and Paratext in order to further the work of Bible translation in Papua New Guinea.
Jill, an RN, is a branch member residing in Canada traveling to PNG frequently, assisting in various administrative tasks in the Madang office. She is the wife of Norm, the Director of Language Affairs.