Thursday, April 29, 2010

Field Trippin'

Today we finally made it to the JAARS Center! I visited there about 13 years ago, when some friends and I made the trip from Winston-Salem to come down for a day-long tour, and I thought the scope of their operations was amazing. Now, we live only about 40 minutes from there, so we've been saying for years we should take the family on a field trip there... and thanks to the prompting of some other homeschooling families in our church, we actually did today.

JAARS stands for Jungle Aviation And Radio Services, although it does much more than that now, as it supports Wycliffe Bible translators all over the world (6000 people in the organization). In a biography Strider and I have been reading lately, both Wycliffe and JAARS were mentioned, so we thought it was good timing that we were able to visit this week!

We took a tour of part of the grounds this morning, which started with a presentation about some of the functions JAARS performs. Strider got to be one of the props/actors as he demonstrated their boating support. :)

We saw some of their facilities on the campus, including mechanics training shops, a training airstrip, etc., but one of the most interesting spots was the airplane hangar.

Here Strider is showing a makeshift wooden wheel that a tribesman made when a JAARS pilot needed a new one in a pinch -- it only cost him $11.

This pontoon plane was the same type that Nate Saint flew -- who we had just been reading about! After being used for many, many years, it has now been preserved here on the ceiling of the hangar.

Colsen, of course, was amazed by all the airplanes to be fixed (and helicopter), and all the pieces and tools to be used.

Then we walked across the grounds to meet our friends at the Museum of the Alphabet. What a fascinating place that is. As we had learned about in the initial presentation, there are almost 7000 known languages in the world (and 2300 of them still have no written alphabet!), and the displays in this building explored the history of languages. We learned all kinds of interesing things about different cultural approaches to alphabets, literacy, etc.

Some interesting facts:
  • an ethnomusician is a person who goes into a culture purposely to help them regain their musical heritage
  • it wasn't until the Middle Ages that spaces were introduced between words
  • a king in Korea in the 1400's made symbols picturing the position of a person's mouth/throat to show every phonetic sound spoken in the language
  • a Cherokee was the first illiterate person to create a whole alphabet for his language, and he did it so well that some of the leaders in the tribe were able to learn to fully read and write in 3 days. Within 14 months, 70% of the people knew how to read.

One of the fun things for us was seeing this display (below) about a tribe that we had just read about in the missionary biography (about Rachel Saint)! It was fun to recognize Chief Tariri, as well as the women translators who had become friends with the natives.

Then we went over to the Mexican Museum, where the kids were able to explore, briefly, some of the artifacts and things there. Mostly they just enjoyed time with their friends!

Not sure why all the pictures are in such a crazy spacing/order on this thing... sometime Blogger drives me batty.
Anyway, it was a fun day! We hope to go back sometime soon... although we might wait until Miles is out of his constant-loud-yelling-when-I'm-in-my-stroller stage.

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