Singsing for a remote building dedication

by bzephyr
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The new classroom (center) and dorm (right) in the morning sun

 

A few years ago, our ten-language Bible translation project in Papua New Guinea started to outgrow our current facilities. We needed more classroom space, more dorm rooms, more staff housing, and a new generator. Before we returned to the States for our home assignment last year, I had worked with teammates, architects, and funding partners to plan for the construction of four new buildings. Most of the build happened during the year that we were away.

AWTP managers

Missy and Emil managed the whole building project while we were home in the States

 

When we returned to PNG, our local colleagues had decided that we needed to do the culturally appropriate thing and host a building dedication. Traditionally, people in this part of the country cannot use a new house or building until they have hosted various groups to come sing and dance on the buildings and officially open them up. Sometimes the dancing is so energetic that it seems to serve the purpose of testing the strength of the new building.

For this opening, our village partners decided that the real purpose of this event was to dedicate these buildings to God and to his continued work through this language development project. So they invited one local singsing group to sing and dance, and various local church and community leaders were also invited to join in dedicating the new buildings to God. It was a day full of decorating the buildings, singing, dancing, speeches, prayers, cutting the tape, cooking, eating, and enjoying sweet fellowship together.

The pictures that follow are just a glimpse at all the beautiful art and joyful activities of the day…

 

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Fastening bilas (decorations)

 

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Adding color – the new and the old

 

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Hold still

 

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Women folk of the local translation advisor

 

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Children getting all decked out

 

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Almost ready to begin the festivities

 

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Many speeches

 

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Cutting the tape

 

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Exploring the new buildings

 

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All dressed up and ready to dance

 

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Singsing Tumleo – a song learned by grandparents from a neighboring language

 

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Watching the singsing from the decorated new verandah

 

Taking a breather before the next verse

Taking a breather before the next verse

 

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The next generation with PNG flag colors

 

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A headdress to match her afro

 

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Learning from the grandparents

 

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The littlest dancer

 

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Too much excitement for this little super man

 

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Someday, he’ll join the fun

 

Cooking kaukau

Keeping the fire going

 

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Cooking fish

 

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Waving the flies off

 

Distributing bread rolls

Distributing bread rolls

 

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Waiting patiently to eat

 

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Time to rest and story

 

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Leading the singsing with a flare

 

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3 Comments to “Singsing for a remote building dedication”

  1. What a beautiful and joyous time! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thanks for the update, Mandy. I’ve been thinking of you all through the Holidays, and Praying that there would be special joys for being back in PNG. ‘Prayers that the new building will be a place of Blessing for ALL!

  3. We LOVE hearing from you, dear Pehrsons.When I read the summary and viewed the pictures from the dedication day, I feel that our ‘American’ way of managing similar events is so understated, so paltry, so insignificant, so unable to create participation and visuals that will stick in the mind and heart. Wish we could have been there. To God be the glory for the completion AND the dedication.~Mary Walker, Bridges class

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