Short history: In 2003 Mark Gaddis was praying for Bible translation in Nigeria in his mud block office in Gure, Kaduna State. He asked the Lord to show him somebody he could help with Bible translation. He felt like the Lord was telling him to stand up and open his office door. He did, and Markus Wenji was standing there. He asked Markus if his people had a Bible or any other books in their language. They did not. He asked him if they would like one. He said yes. Over the next years Mark traveled to Nyenkpa (Yeskwa) land and began investigating the situation. He found that there was a cluster of four languages: Nyenkpa (Yeskwa), Duya (Idun), Waci (Begbere Ejar), and Waci (Myamya), and began investigating the needs of each language. He asked other translation agencies in Nigeria if they were working with these languages or had plans to. They all said no and gave their blessings for Mark to begin language development work there, which he did.
Members of each of the four languages formed committees, raised funds and sent people in 2006 to be trained at the Introductory Course in Applied Linguistics program held at Nigeria Bible Translation Trust, Jos. Ten people from the four languages attended the training and produced an initial orthography and word-list as a result. The ten then received one month training in either Bible translation or literacy. Translation began immediately in the Nyenkpa and Duya projects. Jonathan Barnhoorn joined the work in the cluster, lived in Panda, and worked with the four committees. He got the Ashe project up and running, worked daily with the Nyenkpa project, and gave some guidance to the Duya and Waci projects. At Mark’s request, Roger Blench (see his website) did linguistic work with the four languages and helped them further develop their initial orthographies.
Shortly after the ICAL training, Mark and Wayo Bai (Baba Duya) set up a cluster office in Wayo’s house. With table, chairs, file cabinet, printer, computer and generator, Baba began his work. Baba worked tirelessly on the project and drew many other Duya speakers in to regularly help. A strong group of reviewers looked over the translation almost every week. On weekends Baba travels village to village teaching Duya literacy.
By June 2011 Baba had drafted all the books of the New Testament except Thessalonians. Through diligent work by Baba and the Duya community, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts have all been drafted, team checked, community checked, and reviewer checked. Emese Lang and Patrick Rosendall both consultant checked the entire book of Luke, and the final consultant check of Luke is currently being completed by Mark Gaddis. The book of Luke was published in 2013 and as of mid 2014, final consultant checking of Acts & Mark is under way.
In early 2011 Anna Hafner came to Duya land to do her PhD in linguistics on the Duya language. She and Wayo produced three new booklets, which were used in some of the local schools.
Well done to all those Duya who have been involved. May more of you join this wonderful project!