The Aitum Ovovo workshop today was double booked with the Women's Association meeting, but God turned that into a really good thing! Allison, the leader of the Women's Association, came and asked me if I wanted to go first, but I told her that I would just come to her meeting and hold my workshop when she was finished. So we had tons of women show up who normally would have stayed at home!
We sat underneath several trees, enjoyed the shade, and chatted while we waited for the meetings to begin. After a rocky start with some feuding between sisters, the Woman's Association meeting finished. The three ladies who have been helping me each took a group of ladies. I've learned that they need to divide themselves because they have so many rules about who they can sit by and whose name they can speak.
I had forgotten that Marulaon has several women who have married in from other language groups, so one of the groups had a large contingent of ladies who didn't speak Lavukaleve. Eta quickly adjusted and Leku jumped in as a translator. I also had the Pijin version of the book, so that particular group used both languages as they read and discussed the content.
Once everybody got into the swing of things, the discussions went really well. I heard lots of laughter, too. Watching the ladies slowly figure out who read well and young ladies picking up responsibility and older ladies offering their two cents - the whole dance was beautiful.
We only got through the first two sections and decided that we would meet again next Sunday to go through the next two sections. That would get us halfway through the book, and hopefully the ladies will take the initiative to continue discussing the book on their own.
When we wrapped up, one of the ladies thanked the group for working together to produce a book that they could use to teach their daughters. And after church tonight, another friend told me that she liked the book because it touched on their culture (the story is set in a Melanesian context) and the Bible.
This project has been a team effort from the very beginning - from Amy Carter writing the story to the translator from Leru Village who hand wrote the entire Lavukaleve translation to my friend Margaret who helped me decipher the handwriting to the ladies from three different villages who have come together over the last two years to produce an almost finished product. Please, don't stop praying that God will continue to work in these ladies lives and to teach them that His Word contains practical, every day wisdom.