No Weekend Picnic

By Rachel Greco

In 1938, evangelization began in the Panzi region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Yet the sharing of God’s love was hampered by the lack of a Bible in the language of the region—a few portions of the Gospels existed since only because they had been turned into songs.

After completing his theological studies in 2005, Dr. Nzuzi began the work of producing a Bible in the Kiyaka language for the Yaka people. He invited a small team of local translators to collaborate with Wycliffe Bible Translators, and they began translating the New Testament.

Today, the Yaka continue translating the New Testament into Kiyaka. One of the main struggles they’ve encountered has been transportation.

In order to have the communication and infrastructure they need to translate God’s Word, the language team settled in Kinshasa. But the linguistic base, where the Yaka people live and where the testing and other trainings occur, is one thousand kilometers (621 miles) away from Kinshasa.

A truck stuck on the road.

The path to these villages is no weekend picnic! The roads and bridges have degraded so much that a trip which once would have taken about a day, now takes many days to reach the villages where the Yaka live.

If the Kiyaka translation team wishes to conduct a literacy workshop or testing at a village, they face a long, complicated journey. They must first travel on paved roads from Kinshasa to one of the big cities in the area, such as Kikwit.

Sometimes the team must wait several days at one of these cities until they can find a vehicle for the next step of their journey. Public transportation consists of unreliable buses, which can take about 18 hours roundtrip. If it’s even available, renting can be expensive, depending on the city.

As the team travels farther from the major cities, road conditions deteriorate, becoming bumpy, yellow-earth roads.

During the rainy season, some roads become like rivers.

Once the team reaches the main site of the Kiyaka language, they then travel deeper into the language area on narrow trails 100-150 kilometers (62-93 miles) to conduct the crucial literacy workshops or testings of Scripture at villages. Often only rented or borrowed motorcycles can access these rough paths. Possessing their own vehicle and motorcycles would eliminate rental costs and save the team’s time for actual translating and trainings.

The Kiyaka translation team has now completed 40 percent of the New Testament translation and hope to have it completed in 2023—just three years away! In order to do so, and fulfill their desire of “help[ing] the different people of God attach themselves to the true Word of God,” as Pastor Stanislas Nzita Nsafu says, the translation team needs a sturdy four-wheel drive vehicle and four motorcycles to traverse these difficult roads.

Your gifts to Land Transportation Solutions will enable the Yaka people and others in Africa to attach themselves to the true Word of God.