"If your God is so mighty, why doesn't He speak my language?"
A Cakchiquel (Guatemala) man to SIL founder William Cameron Townsend
The Cameroon Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation has just organized the second edition of the JERSIC “Week of Excellence in Scientific Research and Innovation in Cameroon”. This is a national and international opportunity given to different researchers working in Cameroon to show to the public their results. SIL Cameroon could not miss such an opportunity. The SIL delegation at the official opening ceremony was lead by the Director of Personnel Mr. Joe Rider, the Director of Administration and Finance Mr. Steve Santos and Mr. Steve Wittig. Close to a week, SIL team mentored by the Coordinator of Communication and Cooperation, Martin Galland Beyala displayed the fruit of its research efforts during these last years in Cameroon.
Visitors to the SIL stand eagerly searched for their own mother tongues among the 106 languages in which SIL has supported language development during the past year. Some were pleased to find that publications existed in their language, but others were frustrated, finding nothing. Still others expressed concern that their children growing up outside the home area will lose their language and culture, and they wondered what to do.
Through training Cameroonians in linguistic principles and guiding their efforts to establish a scientifically-based alphabet and writing system, SIL gives a language community the tools it needs to further its own development. Once it exists in written form, language not only becomes a repository of a people’s cultural heritage, but also serves to communicate concepts that will further its economic, social and spiritual development.
In accord with the week’s emphasis on sustainable development, SIL’s exhibit focused on the vital role that language plays in this domain. Working under the auspices of the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation (MINRESI), SIL personnel are in the forefront of helping to bring lasting change to local communities.