Easter weekend. We had come to Gumare for the annual Wayeyi cultural festival. I had been invited to give a speech to raise awareness for the Bible translation project. Gumare has seen quite a bit of development in the time that I’ve been away; the small one lane sand road that I used to take to get to the festival has been replaced by a two-lane dirt road, suggesting plans to pave it eventually. After happily discovering that the new guest house where we were staying was within easy walking distance to the festival, we settled in for the night.
My speech this year was a short one, reiterating some of the things I said at the first festival I attended in 2008: how God values the languages that He created, how He wants to speak to each of us in our own language and to hear from us, in prayer and praise, in our languages as well. Then, I told them in brief of the plans to move forward with Shiyeyi Scripture translation, encouraging them to persevere and be fully involved.
Wayeyi from Namibia came to talk to me about Bible translation. They said that a group of them had gotten together in Katima Mulilo after my visit to them in 2009, during which I shared with them the steps to preparing for Bible translation. They were ready to get started. A man named Motho assured me that he was working on contacting those who would be willing to serve on the Scripture translation advisory committee.
I shared with them the current plan: to get an advisory committee in place to make decisions about the future and scope of the work, to set up an office in Maun, to find translators and reviewers to work with materials we already have. I assured them that any work that we did in Maun, they could be involved in, that the speakers of the Namibian variety of Shiyeyi would not be left out.
Since the festival, I have received the promised list of potential committee members and a workshop to get everything established is scheduled for the first weekend in June. Thanks be to God!
Eshinee Veith lives in Maun, Botswana, where she has a translation ministry. Her husband, Rob, is an ethnomusicologist who works with people throughout southern Africa.