Health Problems and the Holiday Season
In the second week of December, we had a visit from a colleague, Alison Compton, who gave Julia a lot of valuable teaching about how to test out the Mbugwe writing system and how to organize and run literacy classes.
We planned to have Christmas at home in Magugu, but a few days before Christmas Julia got sick. By the night before Christmas Eve, Julia had all the symptoms of appendicitis, including intense pain in the lower right abdomen. So, we ended up making another emergency trip up to Arusha (this time in the middle of the night). Julia stayed in the hospital for a couple of days, waiting for test results and trying to get better. The test results were inconclusive, but the symptoms were probably caused by some sort of bacterial infection, and a course of strong antibiotics eventually took care of it. Viggo and the kids were well taken care of by our friends in Arusha. They were fed a traditional Norwegian Christmas meal on Christmas Eve, and there were even presents for the kids. We were able to go back home to Magugu by the afternoon on Boxing Day, and we were able to open presents together and have a nice quiet meal together at home. It took Julia a week after that to recover fully, but by New Year’s she was pretty much back to normal.
A Good Start to 2012
The New Year started off great and all three of us (Viggo, Julia, and Shishe) have been making good progress with our work. The kids had a lot of fun playing with the neighbor kids every day, since they were all on a long school break. Julia is working on a Writer’s Guide for Mbugwe, including explanations and examples of all of the writing and spelling rules. She is also doing some testing of some rules that we’re still not quite sure about. Viggo is focusing on a thorough phonological analysis of the language.Among other tasks, Shishe has been working on a history of the Mbugwe people. A while ago we were given a copy of the history of the Mbugwe, which was written in Swahili by an Mbugwe historian. Shishe has been translating it into Mbugwe. We hope that it will be ready for publishing within the next couple of months; it will be the first publication to come out of our project, and the second published book ever in Mbugwe. This has been a great project for Shishe to start with. He has been able to get practice translating and editing, which will prepare him well for translating the Bible. We also expect that this book will be quite popular with Mbugwe speakers.
In mid-February, Julia’s parents are coming to visit for three weeks. We are looking forward to their visit and to seeing them interact with Daniel and Rebekka. We’ll spend the first week of their visit on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar, before we head back home to Magugu. We’re very excited about going to Zanzibar for the very first time.