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Silk-screening School Books

Country: Papua New Guinea
Language group: Bamu
Population: 6,313

Schools in the Iowa Village of Papua New Guinea recently received new, locally-produced reading books in the local language, Bamu, thanks to Kabuma Koto and his family. SIL personnel, Phil and Chris Carr from New Zealand, are training the Bamu people in literacy work and literature production. They introduced the silk-screening process so that Bamu speakers would locally produce booklets in their language.

Mr. Koto writes and illustrates book Mr. Koto writes and illustrates booklets that correspond to themes the school teachers are using. Then he prints multiple copies via silk-screens. Iowa village, located in the Western Province, does not have electric power and is very humid so electronic duplication devices are out of the question.
Mr. Koto uses silkscreen
A silk-screen printer is a simple apparatus that uses a fabric screen and a stencil through which ink is pressed. The stencil is a thin sheet of material—such as wax-coated paper or vinyl—that does not allow moisture to pass through it. Text or designs are created by cutting through the stencil so that the ink or paint can be forced through the openings onto a surface to be printed.
pages left to dry Using a silk-screen printer is a fairly easy and economical way of making copies of printed materials. It is especially suited to making limited numbers of copies in a location where there are no other printing options.
discussion of dictionary Here Phil Carr is discussing the various differences in pronunciation and vocabulary among Bamu dialects. These are important when writing literacy primers and other literature. His wife Chris is currently working with other Bamu speakers to produce the first Bamu Dictionary. See the PNG website for information on many PNG languages, including dictionaries, literacy, and other materials.

These photos were taken in July 2006 on Mr. Koto’s first day back on the job after his task of printing school booklets was recently interrupted by a bout with appendicitis.

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