The class stared in rapt attention as Norbert Wamsi, their teacher, motioned to the whiteboard. “Tell me again the different mathematical functions we learned this morning.” The students quickly called out the answers. “Good! Now, let’s review inserting a picture into a document.” Norbert bent over his computer and gestured emphatically as he talked through the steps. Watching the projected computer screen, some students scribbled notes while others followed along on their own computers, mimicking each click until they too had successfully inserted a photo. Naomi grinned at her accomplishment—she had learned a lot in this course!
Norbert was teaching the first Basic Computer Skills course held at the Ukarumpa Training Centre. The one-week course was the first response to the increasing request for computer training for Papua New Guineans Bible translators—and the results were overwhelming.
“The computer course is a very important thing,” explained Balai, a Kunimaipa speaker from Morobe. “The computer is an important tool to use in the work of Bible translation and literacy. I’m very happy I was able to receive some training. It’s been a need of mine.”
Similarly, Thomas, a Nali speaker and translator from Manus, described how he first learned to use a typewriter, but hadn’t had much experience with a computer. “I’m happy this course happened, because it has given me some good ideas for working with a computer. It’s a good tool for my translation work, and now I can teach my wife how to type too.”
The practical, hands-on teaching style of the course worked well for the participants—but all of them wanted more. Temah, an Angataaha speaker from Morobe, commented, “There’s so much to learn and not enough time! We need more courses like this.”
Computers and technology are vital to the process of Bible translation—and new training courses like this one equip people with tools to help make God’s Word accessible to every language in Papua New Guinea.