Chapter 55: Some Typical Days Doing Translation in Rizal

After we dedicated the Itawes Bible, we felt God placed a burden on our hearts to go to the Malaweg people and translate the Bible into their language. This meant that we needed to have a place to stay in the Malaweg town of Rizal. As it happened, one of the town councilmen had a house which was, at the time, unoccupied. Graciously, he allowed us to live there rent-free while we were doing our translation work. And part of what we were doing also required us to be in Enrile some of the time, so we went back and forth between the two almost every week for about five years, about fifty miles—two hours one way.

At the beginning of that time, I had tuberculosis. Actually, TB is very prevalent in the Philippines, and I had no idea how I came to get it. I was taking medication every day for six months, since that was the treatment at that time. Later, when we realized that one of the ladies we were working with had a bad case of tuberculosis, we decided I had probably caught the TB from her. She had sat next to me, and I didn’t know she had it. We ultimately saw to it that she was diagnosed and got the medication also, and she was cured, as I had been. During that time of Malaweg translation, we had several kinds of typical days each week, some in Enrile, some in Rizal, and another that took us to Tuguegarao.

In Enrile, a typical day was like this one. On March 3rd, 2002:

5 AM: I got up at our home in Enrile, and took TB medication 1 hour before breakfast.

6 AM: We both took BarleyGreen powder, a supplement we were advised to take three times a day, one-half hour before meals.

6:30 AM: We ate breakfast of fruit and then hot oatmeal with sliced fruit, toast and a hot drink, postum.

7:00 AM – noon: I worked on interlinearizing all morning, and Chuck worked on making questions on his book. This requires some explanation. SIL had a computer program that had the ability to take one language, and with the proper input, that language could be made to come out in a different language, providing the second language was a close relative to the first language, and providing you had a native speaker of the second language to help with the words. Since Itawes and Malaweg were sister languages, we could use this program nicely to help us translate the Itawes language into Malaweg. When Chuck and I were in the States in 1999, we learned how to use it. It was called the Shoebox Program. I worked on the SIL Shoebox Program which had the ability to interlinearize a text. That means that we had the same text in different languages printed on alternate lines. We took one of our New Testament books that had been translated into Itawes, and in the process, the Itawes was changed into the Malaweg language. Following the interlinearizing of the text into Malaweg, I exported the text from the Shoebox program to a Word document on my computer. In Word, we double-spaced the text, allowing room for any suggestions/corrections, and then we took it to our Malaweg reviewers. They needed to check it to see if it said what it should say in Malaweg.

While I was doing that, Chuck worked on another computer. His work was related to text I had previously interlinearized and that had already been checked by our Malaweg reviewers in Rizal on a previous visit. The next step was to have a naive check, as we had done with Itawes. Chuck spent his morning devising questions for a Malaweg person who had never seen the text before and did not know what the scripture was supposed to say. (When he/she read a verse, Chuck asked the questions to see if he/she understood and could give the answers that were right there in the verse.)

12 noon: We stopped to have our lunch. At that time, we had our BarleyGreen again and drank our juice of vegetables that we would ordinarily have in a salad. After drinking our juice, we had a sandwich and a graham cracker with peanut butter on it. (This supposes that we had a household helper who was able to prepare our meal for us so I didn’t have to stop my work in order to prepare it myself. If I had had to do that, it would have taken at least two hours of my morning to prepare what we had for our noon and evening meals.)

After lunch, we lay down on our bed and prayed for our prayer partners and family members. Then we took a nap. When we got up and began working again on our computers, we did similar work to that we had done in the morning.

At about 4 PM, we had another tablespoon of BarleyGreen and a glass of carrot and apple juice. We drank this at the computers while continuing on with our work.

At about 5:30 PM, we drank some more of our vegetable juice and a half hour later, had our sandwiches and steamed potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash or soup. While eating our meals, we either listened to a tape recording our home church had sent to us, or to an Itawes radio program done by one of our Itawes preachers, or we read.

After supper, we went back to our computers and continued working as before. About 8:30 PM, or whenever we reached a good stopping place in our work, we stopped and prayed for people that we pray for regarding different things, and read our Bible together. Usually after this, I went to bed, but Chuck stayed up and prayed for another group of people, and then got something to eat before coming to bed. I had already prayed for my special prayer people after I took my TB medication in the morning because I had to wait an hour before breakfast after taking that.

This ended a typical day in Enrile during that time. Another typical day was when we went up to Rizal, the Malaweg town, to do our checking work with Malaweg people. Our early morning schedule was basically the same as when we were in Enrile.

At around 8 AM, we started a checking session with our reviewers. We had eight reviewers: Three men who were leaders in the Catholic Church in the Centro; a lady who led the church choir, translated songs into Malaweg, and went to teach in other barrios; a lady who was from another religious group who also knew her Bible well; and three women from the barrio of Dunggan where we had a Church of Christ. These were women who knew their Bible well, too. They already had a double-spaced copy of text that had been through the interlinear process from Itawes to Malaweg on our Shoebox program, which we had given them the previous week. It had been worked on so that it was the best Chuck and I knew it could be at that point.

However, these reviewers were well informed on the Bible and its meaning, and they had read the text and gone through it to see if they thought it should be changed in some way. They marked questionable places, and on the day of the review, after our opening prayer, Chuck began by calling on one person to tell what he had marked on page one. That person brought up whatever he had found which began a discussion on what the group thought should be done about it. They could either accept, reject or revise, whatever seemed most appropriate. After that person had given all of his findings on that page, the next one told what he had found on that page. We went around the circle to make sure that all the things they found on the first page had been checked, and there had been a consensus as to how it should be dealt with. We did this page by page.

At about 10 AM, we stopped for a snack, usually bought from the town bakery that morning, along with Cokes.

At 10:20 AM, we resumed the translation checking.

At 11:50 AM, we took a break to have our lunch at a small restaurant up the hill from our house that had good Filipino food. It was good exercise to get up, walk up the cement road to the restaurant, eat our lunch and then to walk back down again afterwards.

After our lunch break, we went back to our checking work and worked until about 4 PM. We had prayer and dismissed for the day. Chuck took the ladies back home that he had gone to pick up that morning. They lived about a half hour away from our home by van. Usually, we went through this daily routine 2 – 4 days a week during the Malaweg translation time.

At 5:00 PM, we ate our BarleyGreen and began preparation of our evening meal, which we had at about 6:00 PM.

Another type of typical day in Rizal was when we did our naïve checking, which we did after finishing a book with the regular checkers. We each had our own naïve checker. Chuck had made an arrangement to go to a certain lady’s home, his naïve checker. Chuck’s naïve checker lived nearby, but mine lived quite a ways away. I dropped him off at the home of his lady checker, and then took the van to the home of my naïve checker. We agreed to meet at lunch time when I would return to pick him up.

Chuck spent his time with the naïve checker, testing to see if she could understand what the text said by answering the questions that he had previously prepared very carefully. He knew by her answers if she understood or not. If she did understand, that was good, but if not, then the two of them tried to change it so that she could understand it. When I got to my destination, I took a text that Chuck had already gone over once with his naïve checker, along with its changes, to see if the man I was checking with would understand it. Usually there were not many changes that needed to be made at this time, but once in a while, there were.

About 11:45 AM of that day, we stopped what we were doing, I went back to get Chuck, and we went to our home in Rizal for lunch. We had already prepared our food in advance the day before, so we had our vegetable juice and other things as told before. Then, about 1:30 in the afternoon, we went back to work, working until around 5 PM.

The evenings in Rizal were ones in which we were quite tired, and we were glad to get to bed early in order to be in good condition the next morning. Although we loved doing this checking work, in giving it constant attention to make sure it was done the best we could, by the end of the day, we were mentally exhausted, and we needed that extra time for rest.

When we returned to Enrile each week at the end of our few days in Rizal, Chuck and I went over the places where there had been questions, and we decided what should be done to make them more understandable. Remember that this would all be checked again, twice more actually, before going into print.

Another typical day, usually on Monday every week, we did our shopping and took care of business in Tuguegarao, the big city. Typically, we went to the open market first, a huge barn-sized structure having one huge room filled with various kinds of fruits and vegetables, and another huge room filled with meat, fish, and other kinds of foods.

We headed for the fruits and vegetables room since we were mainly vegetarians. Many vendors had rented stalls on which they lined up their wares. Different ones specialized in different fruits or vegetables. Some specialized in fruits and veggies that came from Baguio, the milehigh city on the island of Luzon where certain vegetables can be grown because of the cooler climate up there, like celery, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes, strawberries and other kinds of berries. Some had various kinds of squash, potatoes and/or any other kind of vegetables or fruits that are grown in the Philippines. Green beans could be purchased, but they were very long-stemmed and not like our green beans in the States. The tomatoes raised in northern Luzon were usually small in comparison to tomatoes grown here, but Baguio tomatoes are the same size as ours. Ordinarily, the small ones are just as juicy and tasty as the others. Chuck was born and raised in Nebraska, the corn-husker state, so he disdained the corn grown in the Philippines because it didn’t come up to his stringent standards. We did have a wide variety of fruits and veggies to choose from, so we were happy with our purchases.

After going to the market, we went to the grocery store down the street. This was a large supermarket, similar to markets in the States, though maybe not quite so large. We got canned goods, rice, soap, bread, packaged soup, butter, eggs, bottled water, vinegar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, breakfast cereals, salad dressings, bathroom tissue and toiletries, brown sugar, flour, cookies and crackers, frozen foods, condiments, pharmaceuticals, rubbing alcohol, candy bars, seasonings, herbs, and just about anything we would be able to buy in a Stateside grocery store. We had to go to a special business where bakeries buy their flour in order to get whole wheat flour with which I made our bread in the earlier years. This was necessary because not many people there used whole wheat flour. In fact, they don’t usually eat bread at all. They eat rice. The main bread used was sweet bread, which we didn’t use ourselves, but this was a must for Filipinos to use in making sandwiches to serve at large occasions for snacks. It was the perfect food to go along with special Filipino dishes that were served on such occasions.

Downtown Tuguegarao boasted a large building, a shopping center with hundreds of stalls. In them were sold almost anything imaginable, services included. For instance, we went to a particular man to have him fix our watches, to a lady who carried lovely material for making baby blankets, to another lady who carried all kinds of kitchenware items, to another lady who carried all kinds of sewing needs, and still another who had plastic bags of various sizes and all kinds of wrapping paper. One place took newly roasted peanuts and ground them into peanut butter. Having lived there for over 30 years, we got acquainted with many different vendors, and we learned who was really good at doing their “thing” so we repeatedly returned to those vendors. Our doctor was located in Tuguegarao, so if we had to visit her, we went to her clinic before going someplace else, including the market. She was quite popular and we frequently had to wait several hours for our turn. We didn’t want to have food sitting in a hot car all that time.

We always took something to read or to do while waiting. If we were sent to get an x-ray, blood tests or some other kind of test, we went to the Divine Mercy Wellness Center where that was done. When we took the results back to her, she prescribed whatever we needed to take care of the problem. Pharmacies were located in many areas of the city.

If we had a problem with our van, we took it to Carl Stevens whenever possible. He was a fellow missionary, and he was good at knowing what was wrong with our vehicles, whether motorcycle or van. Sometimes he suggested that we go to an auto repair establishment that could take care of the problem, so we got well acquainted with the owner of that place, too. Both these men were in Tuguegarao. Whenever we needed to get a renewed driver’s license, we had to go to the Department of Transportation. We also had to renew the registration of our vehicles every year. We had a good bank there, which had an ATM, so we could get pesos without having to go inside to the teller.

But our typical Monday was not yet finished. When we got home from our trip to Tuguegarao, we prepared the food for the week. In preparation of our food, we first took care of the fruits and vegetables. We placed four large pans on the sink filled with clean water. In the first pan of water, we put a small amount of KMnO, potassium permanganate, a dark purple crystalline compound, into the water so the water was dark purple also. This killed any microbes or living creatures that were on the fruits and vegetables. If we had just used bleach, that would have killed everything but the amoeba. But we wanted especially to kill the amoeba, since they produced amoebic dysentery, which can be lethal. This solution was so strong that the veggies had to be thoroughly cleansed of the disinfectant so it wouldn’t kill us, too. (I don’t recommend this for other missionaries because we have found since retiring that we have some potassium permanganate in our systems, and that isn’t good.) We rinsed them in the other three pans of clean water. We put dish racks on the surface nearby and placed the cleansed fruits and vegetables on the racks to drain. After they had drained adequately, we put them into refrigerator containers set up for this purpose, to be stored until we were ready to eat them.

It was wonderful when we had a household helper who had learned how to do all these things, because it took a long time, and we were tired from our long day at Tuguegarao. We went by the helper’s home and picked her up when we got back to Enrile so she could come home with us and start on her job. Our typical Monday was done.

On Sundays, we served in our local congregation at Enrile. Two of my sisters, Vi and Midge, had given me an autoharp which I played to accompany the singing, both for Sunday school and regular services. I was also the superintendent of the Bible School which we had for the children only. The children were divided into two groups according to their ages, and we had teachers for both groups. At the church service, we had a regular minister who led us. He led the singing, preached, and directed anything else that was done. We had a chairman and board to take care of church business from time to time. We started out with three elders, but one passed away, and one moved to Manila, so most of our time there, we had only one elder. He wasn’t really a qualified person for the position, but he was able to pray. We had very few men in the congregation, so he was the one the church chose for the job. Wednesday afternoons at the church, Chuck led in a Bible study and prayer meeting.

Although this accounting of our days seems ritualized and almost unnaturally rigid, they were the type of days that got us through the transltion of the Malaweg Bible in pretty quick time. Naturally, there were days that did not fit into these typical types of days, but as far as our working on the translation, this was our life for most of 5 years.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s