Relationship Building in the Ndop Language Cluster
The Ndop Team is working with a cluster of 10 languages based on 10 large
villages on the Ndop Plain in NW Cameroon. They are discovering that more
progress is being made in the languages where team members are living in a
village. However if there was to be a team member in every village, then
they would be back to a one team one language concept rather than the
cluster concept of a small team of SIL staff servicing a group of languages.
This is the Ndop dilemma.
I took a trip with Dan Grove the Ndop team leader. Also with us were a young
couple who may join the team. There are three villages where it is possible
for them to locate and thus the Ndop Team will cover most of the Ndop
languages without having one team one language.
We set out to visit these three villages on a day trip. However not long
into the day, we encountered a truck which had experienced engine problems.
While the driver was checking out his engine, the truck had rolled backwards
and was lodged precariously at the top of a long drop. The soft dusty earth
had helped to save it from disaster. Dan stopped and we took quite some time
trying to help this man. Digging out underneath the truck; unloading some of
the weighty zinc roofing and attempting to tow the truck back on to the road
with Dan’s vehicle. Several other vehicles drove by: a bush taxi, a pickup
truck, a white couple in a nice car who waved and smiled – but none stopped.
Dan was unable to get the truck back on the road. His wheels spun on the
loose dusty surface and could get no grip, but he had shown his faith in
action. We continued in the knowledge that another truck was coming from
Ndop to drag the stranded vehicle back on to the road.
The first intended stop was Baba and so from the Ring Road we set off up a
steep and extremely rocky road to visit the Palace of the Fon of Baba, the
local traditional king. His palace was impressive and he received us
cordially, showing us round his new building project within the palace
compound and offering soft drinks and fresh pineapple. Again Dan worked hard
to develop good public relations between the Ndop Language Project and this
man who has so much influence over his people. The Fon invited us to come
back next Monday when he will celebrate the 20th anniversary of his Fonship.
Next stop was at the St Monica’s Catholic Clinic where Dan wanted to drop in
and greet the doctor. He had heard good reports of this clinic and we were
impressed. The doctor and the sister that we met were pleased to meet some
other Christians working in their area and Dan will be able to recommend the
clinic to friends who need treatment having seen it for himself. Once again
another group of people were made aware of what the Ndop Language Project
was all about – and the convent to the rear could be a future retreat venue
for the team.
We were having to cut our plans to visit Bangolan because of the delay with
the truck, but we made a shorter visit to Babessi. We met up with Matthias
from the Babessi Language Committee who insisted that we should go to visit
the Fon of Babessi who happened to be in residence after recently returning
after 7 years studying in Russia! This palace was less palatial, but again
the Fon received us graciously and Matthias and Dan were able to promote the
language development work of the Ndop Language Project.
The final stage was a short cut along an extremely red and dusty road
(impassable in the rainy season) to Ndop town where Dan took us to his
favourite roadside fish restaurant – Ndop style.
In his devotional this morning at the Literacy Workshop, Jon said that his
passion is that the Ndop languages receive the Bible in their mother
tongues. That’s my passion too – but I’m seeing afresh that so much more is
involved before that stage is reached!