Word Search: Not your ordinary garden

The Rangi translation team in Tanzania was working on translating “Garden of Eden” from Genesis 2. The Swahili word the translators used was bustani. However, that word did not describe anything special or beautiful about a garden; it simply meant “garden.”

Photo by Paulius Dragunas on Unsplash

The translation consultant working with the team described how beautiful the Garden of Eden must have been, with water, animals, trees, flowers and more. During the discussion, two of the Rangi translators, Paulo and Maingu, understood that for the first time. They realized the best Rangi word for a beautiful garden was ntindika. Paulo described ntindika as a place which, even though people need to tend and cultivate it, never fails to produce a great variety of delicious fruit.

“You can always find food there,” Paulo said.

The team agreed — they had found the right word for the Garden of Eden.

Frontlines, Winter 2021 (Wycliffe U.S.)