A day in the life of a translator’s wife…

by mendibpng

We have been back from the village for a couple of weeks now, and I thought I’d write down what I do every day since a lot of my days are very similar to each other.  For anyone new to this blog, we live in the Sandaun province of Papua New Guinea.  We are working with the Aitape West Translation team to translate God’s word into 11 local languages.  Ben is a translation advisor and I am a stay at home mom/literacy trainer. This last time out in the village, our focus was consultant checking Luke in five languages and Acts in three.

Wake up & get dressed….somewhere between 6:30 and 7:00 am…depending on which baby has started waking up.

 Get breakfast…make milk (mix 1 cup of powdered milk to 3 cups of water), get out the cereal and start boiling water on the stove for coffee.  Use the hot water to start rehydrating vegetables and ground beef for lunch.  Send boys to do their chores (empty food scraps and take trash out)

Take a deep breath and pull out all three curriculums.  Start Ellie on Math because she takes a lot longer to do that.  Give Noah an assignment to get started on and tell him to stop playing with the babies. 🙂 Josiah needs little intervention, thankfully!

 Put babies down for their nap.  


About 10:00 there would be a break at the translation office, and Ben would come home. Sometimes I’d ask him to give one of the kids a pep talk, or he would start some laundry.  Since we have new solar panels, we can use our twin tub washer anytime of the day. (woo hoo!)  One of us would volunteer to hang up the clothes. Then he would be off again, and we would get back to school.

 By about 11:00, I’d cook lunch. Hopefully by this time, the kids would be nearly done with their school work.  Ellie would do her favorite thing:  journaling, and the big boys would finish up any assignments left. 

 Between 11 and 12, the babies would wake up and be a bit fussy so the big kids would take them outside for walks.  By lunchtime, I’d usually have everything ready.  We usually make a big meal at lunch and eat the leftovers for supper—thus eliminating the need to cook twice and also providing less leftovers to give away later since we don’t have refrigeration. 

 After lunch, Ben and I take turns taking 20 minute or so naps…one of us would do the dishes. We put the babies back down again for another nap. The big kids were free to do whatever. Ellie would often be upstairs playing with her barbies or creating some beautiful thing out of scraps of paper. The boys would play games, fly paper airplanes, play soccer (Noah mostly) and read. 

 Somewhere before three, I’d pop some popcorn or make some cinnamon rolls or banana bread and take it out to the translators for their afternoon break.  This is not an expected thing, nor does anyone obligate me to do this, but it helps me get out of the house and makes me feel like I’m a part of what’s going on.

 Ben would come home between 5 and 6, and we only have to heat up our supper…or cook up 2 minute noodles if I didn’t make enough at lunch. After supper we showered while the big kids watched a movie or read (at this point the generator runs until 10:00) After giving everybody malaria medicines, we put the kids to bed and then I could curl up with a book or watch a movie before I crashed.  Sometimes Ben would watch with me, but other times he would work on translation, in order to stay ahead of his guys the next day.

Thus ends a ‘typical’ day in my life in the village.

3 Comments to “A day in the life of a translator’s wife…”

  1. I’m tired thinking of your day. But then, you’re a bit younger than I am. Thanks for sharing so I know how better to pray for you. Hugs for everyone, Marion

  2. Thank you for sharing! We are planning to move to Ukarumpa next year and your blog is so insightful. My husband is a welder/construction/maitenance guy and i am a photographer. Any information you could give me about what we will be encountering would be much appreciated!!

    • Sarah, I would love to correspond with you–please feel free to write me. It helped me a lot to know a few things before arriving here back in 2001, so I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about living here in Ukarumpa. I look forward to checking out your blog too. 🙂

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