Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Úraga lau garifuna (Stories in Garifuna)

I recently attended a workshop about crafting and telling Bible story sets for oral cultures. Stories are then taught in home groups where people can discuss them and learn to retell them.

One of these projects is underway in Garifuna. I was hoping to help in some way after acquiring a better grasp of the language (i.e., LATER). Well, two weeks ago I was invited to help with a new story set being crafted in Garifuna! "What?! I don't feel ready, but here we go!" Of course I wanted to help!

I'm working with a Garifuna woman (L) and a missionary (M) to produce a set of 12 stories about women in the Bible. So far, we have one about Eve and another about Sarah. Now we're working on the story of Ruth.

My job is to help L, the story crafter. First, I record the Bible verses about the story. If she were to read it herself, it would limit her ability to tell the story naturally. Usually I read in Spanish, but, if nobody else is available, I read in Garifuna (it's painful for both of us - ha!).

Then, I type the transcription in a Google documents template, together with the corresponding verses. Everything told must be "anchored" in Scripture.

When L feels good about the draft, we go visit Garifuna women with little or no Bible background. We have one person translate the story into Spanish so we can check for difficult terms (like "covenant" or "blessing") and reword awkward parts. Then we have at least two people retell the story after hearing it several times to gauge how reproducible it is. We also ask questions to find out how well the story is understood.

After we compile this information, we send it to a consultant, who checks for any necessary revisions.

Throughout the process, I hear the stories over and over and OVER again, which introduces me to new vocabulary and word/sentence structures, and reinforces what I've already learned. My favorite part is visiting people! I love how they hear God's Word in a new way, and it is fun to get to know more women by conversing in their language!

Please pray for those who hear the stories and for us as we move forward with the project.

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