A Workshop for Kwaio Preschool Teachers

Buma Catholic Mission Station – Malaita Province – the rainbow and moon

In our last newsletter, we shared about a new opportunity – to help develop a curriculum for an ECE (Early Childhood Education) program in two schools. The first step was to hold a workshop for ECE in a Kwaio-speaking area on Malaita Island. The venue for the workshop was a beautiful Catholic station where we were welcomed warmly by the Sisters of Charity.

3 of the 4 of us in the photo are named, Martha!

This ECE project is under the direction of two local non-profit organisations, LASI (Literacy Association Solomon Islands) and COESI (Coalition for Education Solomon Islands). While we taught most of the workshop content, three trainers from LASI were observing, as they will be responsible for the ongoing training of teachers in the program.

The training included looking at principles of early childhood education and preparing a ‘cultural calendar’ for their community. This involves a process of thinking about weather patterns, seasons, growing seasons, etc. in the local community. The teachers then used that cultural calendar to choose weekly themes for the curriculum.

The list of themes
The teachers practiced writing stories in Kwaio.

One of the next tasks will be to develop storybooks for the various themes. We have enlisted the help of the Kwaio Bible translator, David Fonosimae, to help translate some books into Kwaio, using the Bloom Library, which was developed by SIL International. You can look at the books that David has translated here: Bloom Library – Kwaio books. We are looking forward to adding more books to the Bloom Library.

In early 2022, we plan on going back to Malaita for a writers’ workshop where the teachers will write original stories to coordinate with the curriculum.

The teachers left the workshop excited about the things they learned. Their village community will be working on building a classroom for the many small children who will benefit from this new program.

Workshop staff and participants
The kids along with the visiting Australian and New Zealand High Commioners, standing where their new ECE classroom will be built.

We enjoyed traveling to Malaita and working together.


A visit to Sinasuu

When the opportunity came up to travel to Malaita Island with my friend, Priscilla, I jumped at the chance. Priscilla is the National Coordinator of the Literacy Association of the Solomon Islands (LASI) and she was going with some colleagues to visit Sinasuu Village, where LASI has had a successful literacy program.

In addition to the visitors from LASI and COESI (Coalition for Education Solomon Islands), the village was preparing for the arrival of the Australian and New Zealand High Commissioners (within the British Commonwealth, this is the equivalent to the position of Ambassador) the next day. 

The successful Sinasuu Village Literacy Program was originally designed to meet the needs of illiterate adults, but kids started coming to classes as well. The nearest school is 2 kilometres (1.25 miles) away, so it was too far for young children to walk. By the time they were old enough to walk to school, they had already missed the foundational years of kindergarten and first grade, so many never went to school at all.

LASI helped the community start a preschool program. The community built a classroom from local materials and the kids were able to attend class. But the building is small and there are a lot of kids in the village. 

Australia and New Zealand agreed to help fund a permanent school building and that is why they were coming to visit the village. 

LASI and COESI agreed to help provide a curriculum for the kids that was appropriate for their age, in their own Kwaio language, that would be culturally appropriate. They were able to find funding to cover the costs of curriculum development, teaching materials and teacher training. 

As you can imagine, the village is excited to be getting a school building and program which will help educate their kids right in their own village and in their own language. 

We are pleased that LASI and COESI have asked SITAG (Solomon Islands Translation Advisory Group) to write the curriculum and Tim and I are excited to take this on. Martha having seen the local situation will certainly make writing the job easier. 

We feel excited and honored to serve the people of Sinasuu and help develop a curriculum that we hope will be helpful to other communities around the country.


Savo Island Alphabet Tour

The moment we completed the circle around Savo Island.

On July 4th 2021, we traveled to Savo Island to start a ‘walking tour’. The purpose of our tour was to visit all the village communities around the island while also taking the opportunity to meet with people and share some information about an upcoming meeting.

The meeting on the following weekend was to bring Savosavo speakers together to talk about their alphabet. Not much has been written in Savosavo, but more than one alphabet has been used to write the language. In order to move forward in Bible translation, there needs to be ONE alphabet that everyone can read. We were hoping for wide community participation.

During the week as we walked around the island, we held 8 alphabet awareness meetings. We also encouraged people to come to Kaogele Village on the weekend to participate in the discussion on what letter symbol(s) should be used for each sound in the language.

We had wonderful weather all week long as we walked from village to village. Please enjoy this virtual tour of the island through some of our photos:


Image 1 of 39

Walking on the beach or on a path through the bush, Savo is a beautiful island!


Savo Day Trip

A Day Trip to Savo

On May 30th, 2021, we were invited to Savo Island to attend a meeting of the Savosavo Bible Translation Committee. It was a full day and a blessing to reconnect with our Savo Friends! 

On Sunday morning, we drove west from Honiara along the Guadalcanal coast to a place where we met the fiberglass boat with outboard motor, whose driver took us across to the island. After about 30 minutes we arrived on the island – slightly damp from the fine rain that was falling, but thankful for smooth seas. 

Francis, the driver, skirted along the coast of the island hoping for a chance to see some dolphins which are often at play, but there were none to be seen. The boat continued around the island to Kaogele Village.

 Once we arrived, the boat cruised past the beach and we circled around in the sea for a while, because the village was not quite ready for our arrival. It felt a bit like a plane circling an airport waiting for clearance  to land! 

Ah, but it was all worth the wait when we finally pulled onto the beach. You can watch the video here: Welcome  to Kaogele Village

It was fun to see people whom we had met on other trips to Savo, as well as some new faces. We were served tea & coffee, donuts and ‘pudding’ – a local food made from coconut milk and cassava (not at all like American ‘pudding’).

A couple of months ago, we asked people to pray for James, the chairman of the Bible translation committee. Here he is pictured with his wife, Sarah.  James asked us to thank everyone who prayed for the boil on his leg. He is doing much better, although his leg is not entirely healed.  So please continue to pray for him.  

Lucy and her supportive parents

One person we were eager to meet was Lucy. She is from Kaogele Village and is currently attending classes at a Bible school here in Honiara. She is receiving high marks in grammar and will be taking more courses because she is interested in getting involved in Savosavo Bible translation. Lucy’s mother grows peanuts, which she sells in the market in order to pay for Lucy’s tuition.

Savo Island

Savo Island with Kaogele Village circled

There were about 70 people who came to the meeting – which was really encouraging. Unfortunately, only the east side of the island was represented. We hope there will be people from all the villages at the next meeting, scheduled for July 10-11. The topic of the next meeting be choosing the Savosavo alphabet. This will be an important first step for the Savo community.

We are excited to serve the people of Savo as they seek to translate God’s Word!

Below are some more photos from our day on Savo:




Mr. MacGyver’s Tuna Patties

Chili Tuna Patties

We have a number of cans of locally produced canned tuna with chilies. Today, Mr. MacGyver crushed up a package of Beef Biscuits, mixed in a can of chili tuna, chopped green onions, some milk powder and 2 eggs. 

He made the mixture into patties and fried them on the raclette. We enjoyed the patties along with fruit smoothies. It made for another healthy and delicious meal from our limited pantry.


Mr. MacGyver Makes Egg Salad

In our last grocery order, we asked for some more eggs. Looking for an alternative to making omelettes on the raclette, we have experimented with making hard boiled eggs.

Before our arrival, our colleagues brought down a French press so we could make coffee in the room. Fortunately, they sent down a very nice stainless steel insulated press and it turns out, it’s pretty useful for other things besides coffee.

Tim boils water in our electric kettle and pours them over eggs he has placed in the bottom of the French press. He leaves the eggs in the hot water for about 15 minutes and they are hard boiled. In addition to eating hard boiled eggs, we have also made egg salad using guacamole instead of mayonnaise. Today we have good supply of green onions as well, so they were added. The egg salad spread on a cracker makes a very tasty lunch!