Thursday, July 28, 2016

Papua New Guinea: Ukarumpa Linguistic Center

Ukarumpa is SIL's main centre for the Bible translation work in Papua New Guinea. It's located in the Eastern Highlands at an elevation of 5000 ft. which means the temperature is much cooler than the tropical lowlands.

With over 800 languages in PNG, there is lots of work to be done and the facilities at Ukarumpa help us to accomplish our goals.  We are currently working in about 200 languages so with translators and support staff, there is a lot going on at Ukarumpa!   As translators, this was our base when we were not living in the village. The linguistic and translation support available at Ukarumpa was helpful and needed but the support services were also necessary and such a blessing to us.

One of the busiest places at Ukarumpa is the new training centre located just left of the photo below. The Pacific Institute of Languages, Arts and Translation holds courses there for Papua New Guineans from around the country.

 Here's an aerial tour of Ukarumpa.
To learn about:

Translation click here. 
Literacy, click here. 
Scripture Engagement/Use, click here.  
Language Survey, click here. 
Ethnomusicology, click here.

The Auto Shop maintained our truck so we could drive to our village allocation.

Aviation is needed in a country that is mountainous with few roads. Bible translation would be very difficult or next to impossible for many locations in PNG.  Planes not only deliver translators to their allocations but also bring needed supplies, mail and a friendly visit from our skilled pilots!  Click here to see what it's like to land at Ukarumpa.  

Communications and Technical Services

CTS is a vital department as it supports Bible translation around the country as well as the community at Ukarumpa. Those who work in CTS intentionally select, create and maintain technology systems for the purpose of acceleration and accomplishing the translation of the bible into all languages.

The Clinic not only met our physical needs but serves the local people too. What a blessing to have them there when my husband, Morris, came home from the village with a splinter in his eye or the times in the village when we were sick and we could call up the doctor on the radio to ask advice for illnesses or sores.  

Working together, the clinic staff is a multi-national team consisting of Papua New Guineans and missionaries from around the world.

There are Children's Homes for teens to stay in when their parents are in the village so they can attend school. We were Children Home parents for our last 3 years there and loved it!   

The Construction and Maintenance Department was instrumental in helping us build our village house. We couldn't have done it without their expert help! 

The Finance Office handles  the accounting needs for departments and as well as individuals.

Ukarumpa International School is based at  Ukarumpa.  We raised our 3 kids there and as a parent, I'd have to say the schools are a huge blessing!  My kids were taught by teachers who felt called to be there so our kids were their ministry!  When we went to the village when my kids were in primary school, the teachers put together all their books, told me what to teach each day to keep up with their class and then came up on the radio each week to talk to all the village kids to discuss what was happening in the class room and answer any questions.  I didn't have to plan everything for homeschooling and my kids were able to fit right back in to their classroom when we returned from the village!

7th-12th grades come home every day for lunch which was a real blessing for our family.  The school offers sports, choir and band and an annual drama production.  There always seems to be something going on for teens and the Teen Center is a great place to hang out on Friday and Saturday nights.

Smaller Regional Centres support the work around the country.

The Store is like a country store where you'll find almost anything you "need".  It's also a great place to meet friends and have a quick chat. 

Household goods, clothing and more!

The open-air market on the center is full of fresh, delicious produce , fruit and hand-made items.  However, you have to get up early since it’s open from 6-8am, Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.

Papua New Guinea is the most linguistically diverse country in the world and has around 830 languages.  An island nation north of Australia, PNG's geography creates isolation for languages groups. This is a significant challenge both for the groups themselves and for the language teams serving them. There have been nearly 200 New Testaments completed since work began there in 1956. Another 190 translations are currently in process. People from 18 sending countries and staff of the Papua New Guinea Bible Translation Association are working on these translations.

CAPITAL CITY: Port Moresby

POPULATION: 6,732,000 (2009 estimate)
OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: English, Motu, and Pidgin

CURRENCY: Kina and Toea (1 kina = 100 toea)

AREA: 461,693 sq. km. (178,260 sq. mi.) 19 Provinces

LIFE EXPECTANCY: Male 52.6 years, Female 54.2 years

RELIGION: Heavily mission-ized but some nominally Christian, continuing influence of animism/ancestor worship, cargo cults.


  1. This is a great summary of what Ukarumpa is like - thanks for sharing! I hope this will help anyone who is considering serving in Ukarumpa to see what life there is like!

  2. Thankyou SIL for serving the people of Papua New Guinea.