New Language Discovered
United Republic of Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia
LA team: Richard, Ganana, Mark
As part of the Nyiha survey in southwest Tanzania, we as the Language Assessment (LA) team wanted to investigate whether there were Nyiha or Nyika people in neighbouring Zambia and Malawi.
After crossing the border into Zambia and obtaining the necessary permission from the government offices we travelled to a remote area near the Zambia/Malawi border. Here we met with the Chief of the Nyika people in Zambia who told us about his people and their language. He also informed us that there were more Nyika over the border into Malawi and that we should come back the next day to visit them.
So that's what we did. The only problem was that there was no fuel in the town we were staying in in northern Zambia, and the only place we knew of to get fuel was back in Tanzania. We shared our doubts with the Malawian border guards, but they assured us that there would be fuel in the next town. Sure enough, there was fuel... but in barrels, meaning we weren't quite sure exactly what it was and what it would do to our car!
By now we didn't have enough fuel to turn back through Zambia again, so we carried on northwards to get back to Tanzania a different way to get fuel. Thankfully we managed to cross the border again (thanks to some nice border guards who allowed us to cross for 20 minutes to fill up!) and on the way back we stopped to give a schoolgirl a lift to school at the beginning of term. To our surprise she started talking about another group of Nyiha who we had previously not heard of, in the far northwest of Malawi.
After finishing with the Nyika we travelled up to visit these other Nyiha in Malawi, and found out that they were indeed speaking another language separate to Nyika and the Nyiha of Tanzania! The people were very welcoming and extremely enthusiastic about Bible translation. They had a real hunger to be able to read the Bible in their own Nyiha language. We were amazed, and praised God for how he allowed us to run low on fuel in order that we would discover this whole new group!