Having been born and raised in Papua New Guinea (PNG), speaking the trade language of Tok Pisin comes naturally. Often when in the company of other expatriates who served in PNG we will converse in a mix of English and Pisin. Solomon Islands (SI) Pisin is similar to that of PNG, so when I was on a recent Mission Trip to SI assisting in an English Language Course, the rule was established that there was to be no Tok Pisin speaking allowed during class time 8am to 1pm every week day. The biggest offenders of this rule by far were David, Lee and myself – the expatriates! To throw in a Pisin word in the middle of a sentence was so natural to each of us, we did it unconsciously. When it happened the offender received a mark against their name and when there were three marks, they had to do something for the teacher such as bring her a flower or a fruit.
We laughed and learned with the students as Lee GrothOlson from USA, went through basic foundations such as nouns, verbs and adjectives in the first week. Learning how to introduce ourselves to others and look them in the eye was a cultural experience for the students. Lollies were a great reward and some tried to bribe for more lollies.
The Noro Training Centre in SI began it’s first full Semester programme in July with a Preaching course led by Rev Vivienne Manderson, our 2 week intensive English Language Course taught by Lee GrothOlson, former missionary to PNG, followed by a Building Course led by Rev Hall Malasa and a Semester of studies for those completing courses for ordination at the National Conference in January. A Computer Course will also be available in the next month or so. A wide variety of courses for Biblical Study Students as well as Community Courses.
What an experience, living on site for two weeks. Constant rain, limited solar power, rats, snakes, cane toads, swimming, eating sweet pawpaw from the multiple trees in the yard, learning how to make a fan and hats from palm fronds, riding in the back of the truck to go to market, amazing sunsets and so much more! The best part was building relationships with the leaders and future leaders of the Wesleyan Church of Solomon Islands.
– Ruth Thomas