Literacy feels a long, LONG way away, but Steve and Gerdine Stanley and the Kovol team are getting pretty excited about it nonetheless.

They are still at the stage of speaking in broken, grammatically incorrect phrases, but it is fun for them to dream.

Literacy is one of the things the team promised the Kovol people that they would do. Perhaps that is why Steve is looking forward to literacy so much. They never promised to become the health centre for the village, but they did promise to teach them to read and write and he is looking forward to pouring time, money and energy into it without feeling the need to restrain himself as they do medically.

The team have looked at their medical policy again in order to guard their focus and time for the things they have come to do. Clear guidelines will hopefully reduce the decision burden each time a case comes up.

They are also excited to see how eager the Kovol people are to be literate. Last Saturday they pulled out their colouring pens and paper for the kids again. They love doing it, and the team love seeing the mums and dads colouring away and giggling to themselves too.

It is motivating to continue chipping away at the language. They are being careful what they take on so they can ensure that they get to the literacy, translation and Bible teaching parts of their work.

Steve has dipped his toes into the world of texts – short stories. He is at the stage where he can start to look at 30-second long stories about familiar topics with the aim of pulling out some new vocabulary and learning the quick and easy way to link things together.

Later on, they will be spending quite a bit of effort on discourse analysis and really studying these stories. Steve is being careful not to spend too much time on it right now, but it has been fun.

They hope that one day, in the near future, to see Kovol authors writing their own stories in their own language. It is tempting to jump into texts now, but it is necessary to keep on building Kovol language foundations first. Exciting times are on the horizon though!