Papua New Guinea (PNG) is an island nation slightly larger than the state of California. It is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse countries in the world, with a population of nearly 7 million people speaking 850 different languages (about 12% of the world’s total languages)! It is also an extremely rural country, with only 13% of the population living in towns or cities.
While many people in PNG identify as Christians, most practice animism and live in extreme fear of the spirit world. There is a great desire among Papua New Guineans for the Bible to be translated into local languages, in both written and audio formats.
Of the roughly 1800 languages around the world that still need a Bible translation started, there are about 300 in PNG alone. There are currently over 180 translation projects underway in PNG. Wycliffe partners with a nationally-run organization called the PNG Bible Translation Association to give people access to the Bible, literacy, and health education resources including information on HIV/AIDS.
Ukarumpa is a base for Bible translation in PNG with a population of 500-800 people. It is located in the Eastern Highlands Province at an altitude of 5,100 feet above sea level, so it has a pleasant climate year-round.
Most of the Bible translators at Ukarumpa only live there for part of the year, splitting their time between the base and villages throughout the country. Support staff (like us!) stay at Ukarumpa to help support Bible translation through services including a computer department, medical clinic, school, aviation base, etc.
The majority of the population is made up of expatriate translators and support workers from the US, Australia, Europe, South Korea, and various other countries. There is also a large number of Papua New Guineans who live and work there.