What Will Happen Tomorrow?

By Rachel Greco

The Dhongo translation team is based in Lanza, a rural village in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Lanza has no local internet service provider, so the team had to travel 75 miles to the village of Aru to send emails and share its translation work. 

According to Gerben Budding, the IT manager: “Translation teams use the internet to communicate and collaborate with all kinds of support services which are based [elsewhere]. The internet is also used extensively to share and back up their translation work to the cloud using Paratext software. Should a disaster strike, they’ll always have a backup of their work.” 

Thankfully, no disaster had struck at the office in Lanza. But older Congolese Bible translation consultants told Gerben how a team lost nearly all its work during one of Congo’s wars. A lightning strike at another team’s office ignited a fire, and they lost a lot of the work, which was in paper notebooks. 

“The unstable context in which we live in eastern Congo means that, even more than others in the world, we have to ensure that we secure what we produce today because we do not know what will happen tomorrow,” Gerben said. 

With funds from our Technology Solutions, thanks to people like you, a Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) was provided for the office in Lanza and installed by a local technician. This device connects to satellites and is the only way the team can access the internet. Also, their office’s solar-power system was upgraded to power the VSAT and meet the energy needs of an expanding team. 

The VSAT antenna

Shortly after the VSAT installation, Atumu Zuanyani, the Dhongo program director, told Gerben: “We are very happy to announce that since yesterday evening, after the installation of VSAT in the Dhongo office, we are now connected to the internet. The Lord has answered the multiple prayers of people for our cause.” 

According to Gerben, “The new VSAT system meets a great need and makes the team so much more effective. They can now easily and instantly communicate with the regional office in Bunia, get help, make sure their work gets backed up online, and even do remote consulting sessions.” 

Paratext with the Dhongo translation project open

Last year, a translation consultant from Bunia was scheduled to travel to Lanza to work with the Dhongo team. Due to family circumstances, however, he was unable to leave Bunia. Because the VSAT internet system had just been installed, the consultation still could take place via Zoom. 

This saved the consultant a lot of travel time—the trip from Bunia to Lanza takes two days, including a flight. The ability to connect remotely also saved the organization money and provided the necessary flexibility in working hours. 

“[It’s] a great example of how internet connections can make life easier in a country where travel is complicated, expensive, and sometimes dangerous,” Gerben said. 

Translation Consultant Rev. Ung’i Atido working with the Dhongo team.

Thank you for your part in supporting Bible translation in remote places in Africa! Give here to ensure that translation teams have the technical support they need.