A recent letter from a colleague in Tanzania reads, ‘Pray we would be able to secure funding to start the translation of the Kisi, Manda and Pangwa New Testaments.’ Wondering what had provoked this request, I decided to investigate.
I discovered that whilst translation work has been happening in Mbeya in several related languages since 2003 using a cluster approach* Kisi and Pangwa have not been developed nor had any Scripture published. Manda did have a translation published in 1937 but it is no longer available or adequate for the needs of the community, since the language has changed so much since then.
The need for translation in Kisi, Manda and Pangwa has been clear since sociolinguistic surveys were done in 2002, but the communities are remote and too far from Mbeya where workshops for ten other languages were being held. It simply wasn’t possible for the Kisi, Manda and Pangwa languages to be part of that cluster project.
The good news is that from 2012 workshops have been held for these 3 languages to help them develop a writing system. The district capital, Ludewa, was used as the hub for these workshops. This has worked to an extent, but the Manda, and particularly the Kisi, find travel to Ludewa a challenge, as there are no direct roads from the lake shore up the steep escarpment to Ludewa town. While some Kisi and Manda have made the 8-hour walk up the mountains for workshops, it has become clear that Ludewa is not a viable centre for a language development project involving the Kisi and Manda.
The work that has been done is appreciated by the Kisi. Language development has demonstrated to them that their community and language are valued by the outside world:
‘We don’t have any roads or phone network, and the only motor vehicles we have are boats, but to see these Kisi calendars makes us so happy that our language is being developed!’
However without committed funding, personnel with translation expertise, and creative solutions to the geographical issues faced by these projects, they cannot move forward and start translation.
- That funding applications will be successful and that God will provide all the necessary finances needed to start translation in these 3 languages.
- For planning meetings in February that God will give wisdom and guidance in planning for translation to start in these projects
- For the right personnel to become available to serve the communities as translation advisors and consultants
Find out in this 3 minute video the Big Things God is doing in Bible translation in Tanzania.