A group of 34 women, most of whom had never attended school before, just finished the first Kamano-Kafe adult literacy class in the village of Kinkio. For six months, these mamas gathered together, hungry to learn how to read their language, so they in turn could read their recently translated New Testament.
Several members of the Kamano-Kafe translation team were able to attend the graduation, as each of the participants received a copy of the Kamano-Kafe New Testament. The translators were able to share during the graduation about the process of translation, the vital role that the Kamano-Kafe churches had played in support, and about the ongoing work of Old Testament translation.
Finally, Tuas stood in front of the crowd and held up one of the Kamano-Kafe New Testaments. He pointed to the cover, which looked like a banana leaf. “The banana leaf does lots of work in our villages. When it is raining, the banana leaf covers you and keeps you dry. It shelters over you when you sleep and can be your bed on the ground. It’s your plate for food and your pot for cooking. It can be bilas [decoration] for celebrations, and it’s your material for building houses. When it’s the hungry time and all the other food like kaukau [sweet potatoes] and kumu [greens] have dried up, the banana is still there and will give food to your family.”
As he spoke, the crowd nodded and whispered in agreement. “The Bible is just like the banana,” Tuas continued, “God’s Word is everything to us—it covers us and shelters us and feeds us, even when everything else is gone. And so, that’s why there is a banana leaf on the cover of each New Testament that you are holding, to remind all of us of the important work the Word of God has in our daily lives.”