Ahhh… a cup of coffee in the morning is a great way to start the day. Have you ever thought about the origins of that coffee? Papua New Guinea offers some of the finest coffee in the world. Besides being a major export, that coffee also plays a role in developing language projects throughout PNG.
So what does coffee have to do with language development and Bible translation? There are many villages throughout Papua New Guinea that have no access to highways. The only alternative means to transport their crops to the nation’s seaports for export to the rest of the world is by air. The small planes that fly language developers and translators to remote villages also carry coffee to towns located on the highways.
Language development staff recently flew to Boikoa village in the Eastern Highlands Province. While the guests chatted with local people, grateful farmers helped the pilot load bags of coffee into the plane for the return trip. Each time coffee is delivered, it helps subsidise the work of language development and Bible translation throughout PNG. Some days, the pilots can make eight or nine flights to remote airstrips where appreciative villagers are eager to transport their crop to market.
When the visitors departed Boikoa, the pilot accelerated the plane across the grass airstrip, mastering a downhill take off on a strip that has a 15 degree shift to the right. The plane ascended with its full load while satisfied villagers waved goodbye. As the aircraft soared past a magnificent waterfall and proceeded through the Marawaka Gap, the appreciative group on the ground knew their valuable crop was safely on its way to market. Their year of labour was reaping its reward. The income from the coffee would meet the needs of their families and also help keep the airplane flying and transporting language workers to distant areas of PNG.
The next time you sip a cup of coffee, savour not only the flavour, but also the satisfaction of knowing it may have been an important part of the language development and Bible translation process in a distant part of the world.