Friday, February 26, 2016


Here we see part of the SIL (Wycliffe) Roma Service Group in Romania. Jeremy, Zoltan, and Cheryl (right to left) have asked Keith (standing) to give them advice on media projects. They have already made a couple of recordings in a version of Romani (South Vlax).

And in the next photo, we see what they are so intently looking at.

No, it's not the illustrations they hoped to use in animating a recorded story from Scripture. They are looking at the recording itself. Or, rather, the wave files of the recording. 

Each set of blue "waves" represents a different voice. Should the volume be increased or decreased? What about  the space between voices? Should there be more of a pause?

They spent a lot of time editing a recording together. The result was far more than just a well-edited recording project. The time spent will have a ripple effect now that three (or four) more folks equipped to make quality recordings of Scripture in Romany languages.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Zakuska + Romania + Romany

It turns out the boy in the last post was helping to make "zakuska." It's a Romanian dish eaten on bread. We were in Romania this past week, and our hostess recognized the boy and the activity. She told me she could probably get a recipe for it, but it would be for 8 kilos of peppers, etc., since the people she knew canned it in large batches. 

What we were doing in Romania? Staying with members of the Wycliffe/SIL Roma Service Group. They were working on some media projects in Romani languages. However, they weren't really trained in doing that and asked for Keith's help.  So that's what this photo is about. And the other photo is of some Romany girls on the street of the village. I was very impressed with their braids.

Back to Zakuska--I found a couple of recipes on line which all included eggplant. Apparently not all versions do. Here's one which does not call for kilos of anything. Let me know if you try it
(or this hairstyle)!

2 chopped onions; 
3 cloves garlic chopped; 
4 roasted red and yellow peppers; 
2 small eggplants, roasted and skinned; 
6 small tomatoes, skinned and seeded; 
1 tablespoon tomato paste; 
chopped parsley; s
alt and pepper.
Saute the onions and most of the garlic (2 cloves). Add tomato paste and chopped tomatoes. Add chopped roast peppers. Cook approximately 5 minutes to soften. Add coarsely chopped eggplant and parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Cook approximately 3 minutes. Chill in refrigerator. Decorate with parsley and serve with Feta cheese. It can be refrigerated for a week or more in a glass container. Add a little olive oil on top to preserve longer (optional

Friday, February 12, 2016

Language . . . Barriers?

Why is this young Romany boy grinding peppers? Could it be because he lives in the Hungarian-speaking part of Romania? And because peppers are a major ingredient in, say, goulash?
I can't say for certain that that is why he was grinding peppers on this summer afternoon. Those are just my educated guesses. This boy lives in a complicated linguistic situation. Romany around him speak their own version of the Romani language (Gabor) at home. The other villagers around him speak Hungarian. The national language is Romanian.
There are schools in this area in Hungarian. There are also schools in Romanian. There are no schools, not even preschools, in Romani. 
It would be easy to start a school-readiness program for Romani-speaking children, though. There's a series of Parent-Child Club materials which could be used by any willing leader in any location with very few materials. The leader does not even have to know Romani, as long as parents are willing to come with their children and speak their own language with them. Here's an example in English. Let me know if you would like to know more!


Activities (choose one or more)
1. Put something smooth and something rough in a box or bag. Let people feel these things without looking at them. Ask what the difference is in what they feel—one is _____ and the other is ______.
2. Group discussion:  name something that is smooth and something that is rough. (Note:  this will differ per culture and language.) Maybe take turns calling out something that feels smooth and something that feels rough.
3. Talk about a little baby that the whole group knows. Discuss how soft the baby’s cheeks are. Then name someone who doesn’t shave very often. Their chin and cheeks feel rough.
4. Gather 10 pieces of cloth that are about the same size but have different textures:  from very soft to very rough. Have the group put them in order, from softest to roughest. If the group is very large, divide into several groups, each with their own set of pieces of cloth.

Story time or Bible story/singing/prayer

5. Everyone draws an activity that makes hands or faces rough. This will differ depending on the people’s circumstances (doing laundry; working in the fields; selling things in the outdoor market; hand work . . .).
6. Treasure hunt. Divide the group into smaller groups of three, four, or five. Each group searches in the classroom for at least three things that feel smooth and three things that feel rough. Then each group shares what they found with the larger group. (Note:  you might hide things around the classroom ahead of time. Or the groups might find things that they cannot pick up—the wall might be rough, for instance.)
8. Make sand paper with sand and glue. Use stiff paper; spread glue over it; spread sand over the glue; let dry. Have everyone sand a little piece of wood. The sand paper is rough, and the wood becomes smooth.
9. Use the sanded pieces of wood to make a little table, birdhouse, or some other thing that fits the local culture and situation.
10. Walking barefoot makes the soles of your feet tough. If it is culturally appropriate, have everyone look at the soles of their feet. Discuss:  how many toes do you have? On one foot five and on the other foot five. Which toes are similar? Do these toes have specific names (example in English:  big toe, little toe, middle toe). How do you take care of your feet? Talk about trimming toe nails and washing the feet. Discuss what happens when you walk through something dirty.
11. Closing. Have the group sort themselves out in the following order:  littlest feet first; biggest feet last. Leave, single file, in this order.