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New Holy Book in Use in Sierra Leone


Hello, again, and welcome back to the program thathelps you to learn and improve your American English. I’m Jim Tedder in Washington. Today we travel toSierra Leone to meet some very happy people. A bookof great importance to them has finally been translatedinto a local language.

Then we will have some information about agriculture. Scientists are studying how rising temperatures areaffecting crops and the diseases that affect them.

“As It Is” is headed your way, by radio and Internet, from VOA!

The first translation of the Bible in the Sierra Leonedialect of Krio was published less than a year ago after years of work. Thenew, Krio version of Christianity’s holy book is gaining widespread use. And it is helping to increase attendance at religious services in Freetown, SierraLeone’s capital.

The Warren Memorial Church in Freetown is using the newly created Kriolanguage Bible at its services. People sing in Krio, and religious messagesare given in the dialect.

Ruby Pearce helps organize services at the church. She says the Krioversion of the Bible took many years to create. She says the Bible Society ofSierra Leone had the idea to create the first ever Krio Bible in the 1970’s.

Bible translators came to Sierra Leone in 1974. But Ruby Pearce says theyworked only part of the time. The translation of the New Testament wasfinished in the 1980’s. But translation of the more ancient part of the Bible, theOld Testament, extended into the 21st Century. The Krio Bible was finallycompleted in the spring of 2013.

Ms. Pearce says it was a major step for the country because the majority of its people speak Krio.

“We need to know our God understands our language. And there are somenuances in the English language that we cannot understand, no matter what. But when it is in our own language we are able to approach God better.”

And church attendance has improved. Ms. Pearce says about 10 to 20percent more people attend services when the Krio Bible is used.

The ancestors of the Krio people were freed slaves. Their language began in the colonial period. At that time, Krio was developed by early settlers in thewestern part of Freetown. It is a mixture of English and African languages. Some additional words were borrowed from French and Spanish.

Desmond George Williams is the senior steward of the Warren MemorialChurch. He is pleased with the public reaction to the Krio Bible over the pastfew months.

“People hearing the story from a language they understand gives it a freshoutlook. It brings the story closer to them when they hear it in the vernacular. And I think that is one great strength that the Krio Bible has had.”

Twenty-eight-year-old Cindy Williams agrees. She performs as part of thechoir, or singing group, at Warren Memorial Church. She says that having theKrio Bible available is helpful when preparing for services in the language.

Earlier, it would take longer to put together a Krio service because of the needto put the words from English into Krio. She says many young people havesaid they now feel a stronger connection to the Bible. They have a new feelingof satisfaction about speaking their own language.

Our World is Changing

If you grow food to feed your family, or know someone who does, then you willwant to listen carefully to this information. Bob Doughty joins us with details of a study from England that examines our changing world.


Insects are on the move due to climate change.

Insects and diseases that attack food crops are moving as risingtemperatures bring changes to the environment. Plant diseases alone destroyan estimated 10 to 16 percent of the world’s crops in the field. Experts sayplant diseases destroy another six to 12 percent after harvest.

A new study examines the movement of crop pests and diseases and how it will affect agricultural production worldwide.

Dan Bebber is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Exeter inEngland. He says research has shown that wild plants and animals aremoving toward Earth’s north and south poles as the planet warms. Mr. Bebberwanted to know if the same thing was happening with organisms that attackagricultural crops.

He examined reports of first sightings of new insects and diseases aroundthe world. The records came from CABI -- the Centre for AgriculturalBioscience International. He says the group began collecting information fromdeveloping and industrial countries years ago.

“That database has grown and grown and grown, and now CABI are trackingmany hundreds of pests and pathogens.”

Dan Bebber and his research team studied 612 different organisms -- fromviruses and bacteria to insects, like beetles and butterflies. They found thatsince 1960, crop pests and diseases have been moving toward the poles at an average rate of about 3 kilometers each year.

Mr. Bebber says this puts the most productive farmlandin the world in danger.

“As new species of pests and diseases evolve andpotentially the environment for them becomes moreamenable at higher latitudes, the pressure on thebreadbaskets of the world is going to increase.”

Farmers face other threats. Invasive species passed through trade are alsocausing problems. Gene Kritsky is an entomologist at the College of Mount St.Joseph in Ohio. He specializes in the study of insects. He says climatechange may improve conditions for some invasive species.

“It means that species in other parts of the world that might do well in warmertemperatures can now do well in the breadbasket of America.”

Another entomologist, Christian Krupke of Purdue University, says the effectsof these changes will depend very much on the crop, the insect and thedisease. But he says the research is a warning sign that people should careabout climate change and do something about it. I’m Bob Doughty.

And I’m Jim Tedder in Washington. Thank you for spending some time withus on this Thursday, the 23rd day of the new year. On this date in 1737, JohnHancock was born in the northeastern state of Massachusetts. He became apatriot and statesman, and was the first person to sign his name to theDeclaration of Independence. He signed the famous document in very largewriting. And that is where the expression to “put your John Hancock on,” orsign a paper, comes from.

More Learning English programs are just seconds away. And world newsfollows at the beginning of the hour.

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