Monday, March 31, 2008

March newsletter

The latest newsletter is here.

Thing naked

So, I'm finishing up the inventory of the Cook's Books (books that were left behind by the Cook family when they returned to the U.S. last year). I notice, again, the Tsumkwe Kung translation of Mark. Remembering that Mark is the book I think I want to work on with the Yeyi, I decide to hold on to this copy and am flipping through it in curiosity. It's interlinear. I come to a really cool part in the translation, Mark 14:70. I see the Tsumkwe Kung words “Tši |'wãa” and, beneath them, the English words “Thing naked”. Beneath that is a bracket with the word “Truely”. Isn't that the coolest? I'm totally adopting that into my own personal vocab.

PERSON: Do you really think so, Eshinee?
ME: Thing naked, I'd have to say say yes.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Festival pictures

Rob adjusts levels on his recording device. We were sitting in the speakers' tent.

Preparing for the next dance.

Wayeyi festival attenders, gathered in the shade at the kgotla.

Cynthia in the Delta.

My favorite dance group, the children.

Note the movement of the reed skirts.

She really appeared to be having a good time with the dance.

Goats in the road on the way home to Francistown.

Weekend update

It's 7:30PM so I don't want to get too bloggy. I try to keep that to daylight hours, a quirk of mine. But I thought I should give a quick update on the weekend events.

We made it to Sepopa, no adverse events due to the broken parking brake (which was fixed today, yippee). The Rueta Festival was amazing. I hope to have the pictures ready for viewing soon. Maybe tomorrow. I had to give a speech on Saturday, about 6 minutes (double, if you count the translation). I spoke on the value of speaking your mother tongue and teaching it to your children. Maybe I'll post my speech text up here... who knows? It went over well. The days were long but we were in the shade both days (Saturday and Sunday) so that was fine. Saturday was speeches, Sunday was the competitions (dance, choirs, poetry). Just amazing.

Also I met a really cool gal named Cynthia, a minority rights lawyer. She's doing amazing work and is also funny and sweet. We enjoyed our time with her very much. Made some other great contacts as well. More on that will probably come in a future newsletter.

And Friday night, while we were in Sepopa, someone tried to break into the house where we've been staying in Francistown. They didn't succeed. They somehow got the gate (massively heavy, electric operated, with a security alarm) off the tracks, making enough space for a person to fit through. They did not, however, make it into the house. We figure that the 3 dogs finally deterred them, once they entered the yard. I'm still trying to figure out why the dogs didn't deter them sooner. Is it possible that those 3 dogs, who bark all night long if you don't kennel them, somehow managed to stay completely silent while loose in the yard while someone was lifting the front gate off its track? Truly, my mind is boggled. Sigh. I suppose I should just be glad that they deterred them, at any point in the process.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Finally licensed

We got our licenses today.

First, we drove to a local garage to pick up Carl to take with us. While there, we got the mechanic to check out the parking brake, which wouldn't engage yesterday when we got back from the licensing office. Sure enough, it had snapped. We're driving to the Delta tomorrow without a functioning parking brake because, frankly, we don't have much of a choice. We hope to find a big rock or brick to prop under a wheel if we have to park on an incline. Not much chance of that, though, Botswana being so flat.

We arrived at the department of transportation at 8AM and left about 11AM. Now, we're making beans for dinner. I got a load of laundry hung in the spare room to dry. Rob is taking Ndaboka to pick up food for the dogs for the next month or so. I'm downloading the latest version of Fieldworks, version 5.2. It's at 47 of 143 MB right now. I still have a short speech I need to write, for the festival. I think I have until Saturday before I have to deliver it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Due process

Sometimes, the days just get away from you.

This morning, we left the house at 7:30 to go get Botswana driver's licenses. After a while in line outdoors (thankfully it is overcast here today), we were handed a list of documents. One of the documents was one we don't have so we left. We went back to the house. Carl was doing research to see if we really needed that document and found that we didn't. He went back to the office with Melody and, around 1PM, got her license. He said they were closing up for lunch and that people with line numbers would be coming back in the afternoon to be served. In the meantime, I've done laundry plus internet and emailing stuff, thinking that we might go in the afternoon for our licenses. Rob just brought me a sandwich for lunch. It's already 1:20PM. Argh.

The greyness of the day is negatively impacting my mood, I think. Getting the licenses might have improved it.

More on the Dutch cloth

Well, I tripped over the blog of a fellow missionary here in Botswana and, lo and behold, there's a picture of her and some friends wearing Dutch cloth:

There you have it - I am not the only one.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Huge update

As of our trip to Gaborone last week, many things have changed. Here goes:

☞ We now have a car, the blue bakkie. It safely took us to Gaborone and back (a nearly 1000 km round trip) last week.
☞ We aren't moving into the empty LBT house across town. Instead, we're moving to Gabane (15 km outside of Gaborone) to housesit for a couple we met at Botswana Music Camp in December. We will be residing there from April to October.
☞ Rob will be teaching at an ELCB music ministries workshop in early April. Topics to be covered include audio technician skills, microphone use and working in a musical ensemble.
☞ I will have access to mother tongue Shiyeyi speakers in Gaborone, something that I didn't have here in Francistown. A source of particular excitement for me is that there is a young woman there who I've been told can work with me regularly until she goes to university in August. That's at least 4 solid months of exegetical work. This means that there are 3 projects that I should be able to complete before I leave Botswana, as the Lord wills: exegetical check of the Bible Stories Retold in Shiyeyi, exegetical check of a gospel (likely Mark) and a 2400+ word lexical database in Shiyeyi.

And we heartily thank God for all of these developments.

This week is packed with logistics stuff, before we take off for the Wayeyi cultural festival in Sepopa on Thursday. We'll return to Francistown next week and prepare for the move south.

This is where we'll be staying. The living cottage is the green one. The pink one is a lovely workspace.

The view from the upper cottage.

Ruth, me and the blue bakkie.

Fun recent photos

OK, I've finally figured out a way to use the photos I've posted on Facebook here in Blogger. Here are some recent fun ones that you haven't seen if you aren't my friend on Facebook.

When the power goes, we use headlamps, which we gave each other for Christmas.

A Nutella-avocado sandwich. Yum! And I speak of its deliciousness only for myself in our household. Rob could barely stand to be in the same room with me while I ate it.

On our way back to Gabane after one of our trips out to the University of Botswana, we stopped for a photo opp at the movie set for "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" Movie.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Visualizing data

I found a neat website that allows you to visualize data from spreadsheets. Here's a visualization that I made with data from the Joshua Project website:

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Famous blue dress

Here it is, the Dutch cloth dress. We went to a birthday party this evening so I got all snazzy.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Perspective of the Batswana

One of our Facebook friends that we made at Botswana Music Camp posted the link to this YouTube video for people to check out. I am rebroadcasting it here, as a snapshot of how the local media is representing the Batswana perspective on US politics.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Sons of female dogs

Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. Male dogs.

We spent the night at a new place, the home of other missionaries on furlough, now that the missionaries whose home we have been staying at to date are returning from furlough themselves, this evening, in fact. Now, we stayed here once before, when Rob had a Skype conference call meeting with fellow vernacular media folk in Chicago, which meant a late night for us. We were surprised when the guard dogs (and I now use the term loosely) began barking at 3AM. The barking then continued through the rest of the night and into the morning, until about 7AM or so. On the one occasion when Rob got up to see what was going on, they were all at the gate. However, Rob could see no one there. We chalked it up to things we couldn't see and just napped when we got back to the other missionaries place.

Well, they did it again last night. This time when Rob got up and looked out the window, he could clearly see that they were sitting in a circle, barking at... each other! Yes, they kept it up all night. We awoke this morning thoroughly exhausted.

When the maid arrived, I asked if they normally do that as she has been staying here nights, for security. She said, “Yes, every night.” I was aghast. She said that she “got used to it eventually”. Sigh. You know, this is not the first house I've stayed in that had so-called guard dogs that bark so much and so needlessly that they nullify their usefulness. I'm not sure what we're going to do about that. Pray that the Rodewalds can move out of their place quickly, I suppose, so that we can quickly be away from these crazy animals.

On the upside, it's nice to get online without having to drive across town to do so.

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