Bob and Nancy Schaefer (Bolgatanga)

History of GILLBT's work with the Bulsa people

1978-1980 Ian and Claire Gray, having finished the translation of the Tampulma New Testament, decided to see what they could do to help the Bulsa people also have a translation of the New Testament in Buli. They arranged with the Presbyterian Church of Ghana to stay in some long-abandoned housing on the church property in Kobdem. Upon arrival in Sandema, Ian took up the linguistic challenges related to writing Buli. As he produced analyses of the Buli phonology and noun concord systems, Claire, a literacy specialist, began immediately to see what she could do in the way of producing literacy materials. Working with Samson Amoak (who came through the Challenge Cinevan program and later joined Information Services until his death in 1999), Ian began producing Buli Scriptures. In the meantime, the Gray home became a center for the young people of the community. Thus, some, like Peter Wangara, became a part of the project as a natural part of growing up. All this was accomplished in a very short period of time before they were recalled to Ireland by family needs. In more recent years Grays have returned regularly to Ghana as consultants on the Tampulma Old Testament which was completed in 1999.

1980-85 Paul and Jean Dancy, like the Grays, were British and served first in Nigeria before coming to Ghana. After making a start in Nigeria, Paul Dancy realized the need for further theological training, which he completed before coming to Ghana to replace Ian Gray in the Buli Bible translation project. Again as Paul took up translation, working with the former Presbyterian catechist Collins Abagmi, Jean took up literacy, working with Peter Wangara. There was still a need for linguistic analysis to be done on Buli, however, and so an American Todd Poulter was brought in to do this. Until the Dancy family also had to return to England, they worked together in the project. For a number of years, Paul Dancy served as a translation consultant with England as his base. Then he served in the same capacity in Burkina Faso for several years before he again returned to England.

1982-87 Todd Poulter came to Sandema single, but he married Karla who also made a contribution, particularly in the analysis of tone. Unfortunately, he became ill and also had to leave the project and now serves as one of the Executive Vice-Presidents of SIL. Before he left, he set down what he felt were important considerations for whoever would follow him in the project. One of these was to move the base of the project from Kobdem to Abiliyere and he was able to accomplish this move before leaving. He also recommended training Reverend Albert Adekaldu to head up the translation project. Both these recommendations proved to be very helpful in future planning.

1988-96 Bob and Nancy Schaefer lived in Zuarungu 1972-88 translating the Frafra New Testament and establishing a literacy program for that language group. Then GILLBT asked them to take up the Buli assignment, which was about 50% complete at that time. Bob trained Reverend Albert Adekaldu in the principles of Bible translation and oversaw the completion of the Buli NT. Nancy Schaefer did Buli discourse studies with the assistance of Bismark Abakisi. She also apprenticed herself to Anunle, a local potter, to do some needed cultural studies. Her particular contribution to the completion of the Buli NT was in the area of testing various books with women in area churches to incorporate their input into the NT. Since the completion of the Buli NT the Schaefers have continued to serve as translation consultants in various language groups, focusing particularly on the Frafra and Buli Old Testaments.

In 1998, they added another unfinished NT project in the Northern Region, Birifor, to their responsibilities and are now based north of Sawla for much of the year.

1996 to the present: Reverend Albert Adekaldu is continuing with the Buli Old Testament Translation with the assistance of Reverend Daniel Ayarik. The leadership in the Buli Literacy Project is in the hands of Peter Adawen, Margaret Alediin (women's coordinator), and Kwame Akisikpak (chairman of the literacy committee). Peter Wangara moved on to higher positions in GILLBT Literacy, serving first as the UER Regional Literacy Coordinator and then to the head office. He lives in Tamale with his family and is currently serving as Assistant Literacy Administrator, having recently completed a Postgraduate Diploma Course in Rural Development and Extension at the University of Reading, UK.