Cultural themes

Following their two-week break in Goroka, it’s time for Steve and Gerdine Stanley to reset, and pick new goals for this next little stint and get stuck in. Life can feel quite isolated and monotonous in Kovol. The same places, the same people, the same work and few visitors. It’s always a treat to visit Goroka for a change of scenery and do something novel like going to a shop.

Oscar is now on summer holiday having finished year 1, leaving Gerdine to experience a change of pace to looking after kids on summer holiday while trying to squeeze in language time.

Having now basically finished all the paperwork that has been a major focus for so long it feels like Steve is pulling into the final strait of the language learning marathon!

After two years of concentrated effort, he has finished the team’s cultural summaries write-up. The result is over 1000 audio recordings of Kovol speech totalling about 75 hours distilled into a 100-page document summarising each area of Kovol culture.

The final piece of the paperwork puzzle is the cultural themes paper, looking at themes that appear all over the place in Kovol culture, ideas that permeate the entire culture and without which Kovol culture wouldn’t be Kovol.

The main themes are:

Misfortune is a result of personal sin

Everyone must be in harmony to avoid misfortune

Prosperity is available, but just out of reach

Steve has already been searching through the Bible to see how these themes would be addressed; key lessons for each of them, but these themes will need to be in mind throughout the whole of the teaching.

The next step for Steve is to is to book a consultant check to be tested on his communication ability, possibly at the end of August. He hopes to get to level 9; he was level 8 in December. Once he has completed culture and language learning he will be ready to move on to literacy and Bible lesson preparation.

With two months to before the check, Steve plans to do lots of speaking exercises, spend time with the people and doing mock tests.

Gerdine is looking to improve her speaking level at the next test too. She appears to have broken through a plateau where verb conjugations had her stumped for a bit. She has booked an overnight trip to another village for next week where she will be up at night hunting for rats!