Last Thursday, the SIL Wolof Research Team collected the data from the last of the four cities, and therefore successfully completed the data-collection phase! This was obviously worth celebrating by getting smart, matching outfits made by the local tailor.
Prior to Thursday, we spent four days of sending out our local surveyors, helping them conduct the required number of interviews, continuing to check over their questionnaire sheets for problems to correct, and beginning to enter the data (while continuing to enter the data from the other cities). The number of needed interviews was 450. The challenges were not lacking for our research assistants in finding that many available people in this bustling capital city.
Above, we hold a small ceremony as usual to give the trained research assistants their certificates. This ceremony was special however, since it marked the end of the whole data-collection phase, and since we held it at the SIL headquarters (located in City #4). We were pleased to have local church leaders and other SIL colleagues attending, along with our trained surveyors who stood and introduced themselves one by one.
Above left, a local church leader is given the floor to address the attendees. He praised the research project and the efforts of the surveyors. As he shared, though he is only half-Wolof ethnically, he sees much potential in using this language, spoken by the majority of the country’s population, in church life. He encouraged those in attendance to take advantage of the Wolof language, in sharing the good news of Christ who have yet to hear. He urged us to go out in courage and gentleness, using the words of Philippians 4:5, “Na seen lewet leer ñépp. Broom bi jege na.” (“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”) Above right, SIL Director Pascal also addresses the group, explaining SIL’s commitment to see the research project out to its conclusion but also beseeching the local church to engage and even take the lead in it. As he said, SIL is not here to do for the local church but to come alongside them once they take the initiative and invest in their languages. These are essential points in the Wolof Research Project.
In the next several months, our project coordinator, with the help of others, will be analyzing the data and making a recommendation to SIL leadership. SIL will then be deciding if and how to continue a Wolof language project.
And so, though much work remains to be done and decisions remain to be made, we thanked God for enabling us to complete one phase.
Bagne, Eva, and I also thanked God for enabling us to work together as a team over the past 17 months. Since Eva and I both will leave on furlough soon, our work as a three-person team has come to an end for now at least.
Join the Wolof Research Team and our surveyors in four of this country’s cities in saying Jërëjëf! (“thank you”) to our God!