The National, Thursday 06th of March, 2014
By JANEEN MICHIE and TIM SCOTT
AN Oral Bible Storying workshop held in Wewak, East Sepik, last month was attended by 19 people from seven language groups.
They learned how to craft Bible stories in their tok ples (native language).
They then returned to their villages or found other tok ples speakers in town to practised their storytelling and got feedback from them.
Five PNG trainers who have become well versed in story-telling taught the seven language teams how to internalise Bible stories and share them with their language groups.
The participants learned traditional and modern techniques to enhance their storytelling.
Storyboarding, drama, mime and symbols were methods used as memory aids in learning the Bible stories.
Because they have no scripture in their language yet, students applied methods of sharing Bible stories without the use of any translated scriptures in their tok ples.
They first told traditional tales and used this skill to tell Bible stories.
Since they do not have a writing system and wanted to focus on improving their story-telling techniques, they orally translated each narrative using voice recorders.
This way the translation could be spoken naturally the way they would tell the account in their tok ples.
During the first week, the language team practised two stories – the Creation of Adam and Eve and the Fall of Man (Genesis chapters 2 and 3).
For each one, they drew story boards to help them learn the narrative well and remember it so they could retell it.
They dramatised the account of the temptation and fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
The trainees went out to their villages to practice the skills with their people.
Afterwards, they met for one more week to share their experiences and to encourage one another.
Their recordings were checked for accuracy and clarity by Bible experts.