Saturday, February 14, 2009

More Culture Lessons: Saturday, January 31, 2009

A hard working Saturday in the morning.  We had class today to catch up from starting on Tuesday.  It was strange and made it feel like Friday.  I taught the last section on sermon structure and received their first major assignment on the text, proposition and purpose of their sermon.  Mostly they did very well.  I had two that I needed to have improvements completed.  Mostly they were very good and I was able to find positive things in each of their assignments.  

After class I talked with Lesly for a while then came down to the flat.  Jeff introduced me to
 Ezekiel Roman - Lesly’s dad and the clan chief.  It was good to meet him - a very intelligent and strong leader.  He works with co-op of farmers to help raise the standard of living on Buka Island.  We talked about many things and I learned a great deal about agriculture here on the island.  Their biggest cash crops are coconut products, mostly oil and copra (roasted coconut) and cocoa.  They send most of their cocoa raw to Samoa to be processed.  He would like to have a processing plant here on Buka, but there is the problem of finance and a greater problem of reliable electricity.  He estimates that the cost of setting up a plant would be about 2 million kina (something just under $700,000.00 USD).  It would allow them to give the farmers more for their raw cocoa and still make more profit for the processors.  Shipping would cost less also.  He
 said the processing plant on Samoa should be here because Samoa produces something like 5,000 tons of cocoa per year and Bougainville produces 80,000 tons.  I’m sure that part of the reason they don’t have it here yet is that the country has been politically unstable.  There are also some issues of culture to consider.  If one clan gets ahead of the others, the others will sabotage the first to bring them back in line with the rest.  The genius of the co-op is that all benefit, therefore no one needs to feel left behind.

(The picture is of Ezekiel Roman showing me the tribal drums.  Each takes 3 to 4 months to make.  He is holding up his hand to show the size of the largest drum which he called, "the woofer".)

After I spent time with Ezekiel, I went over to the office and finished off the message for Sunday and printed out enough copies for the students each to have a copy.  My hope is that they will see the things I have been teaching them in action and be able to understand better by example than they would by pure lecture.  Because of this, I had to be very careful in writing the message to follow the homiletical rules I have been teaching - what a pain!  I haven’t intentionally  written a proposition, purpose and transition statement in years.  But, on Monday we can use the message as a teaching tool.  Anything to help the team get better.

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