This week we were translating ‘Garden of Eden' or ‘Garden of the Lord' in Genesis 13:10. The Swahili word that Tanzanian translators are used to reading is bustani. This word, however, does not conjure up anything particularly beautiful or special about a garden. It's just a garden.
The translation consultant we were working with described how beautiful the Garden of Eden must have been, with water, animals, trees, flowers, etc. During this discussion, Kijuu and Maingu, the Rangi translators, suddenly ‘saw' for the first time how beautiful the Garden of Eden must have been. They then knew the best Rangi word for a beautiful garden is ntɨndɨka. Kijuu described ntɨndɨka as a place which, even though people need to tend and cultivate it, never fails to produce a great variety of delicious fruit, such as papaya, mangoes or sugar cane. Kijuu said, "You can always find food there." It was exciting to see the joy in their faces as they made this discovery.