Introduction / History Ambul people live on four small, isolated islands off the southern coast of the larger island of New Britain. Although they are geographically isolated, the Catholic Church was established there over 60 years ago. The people also have dealings with a local timber company, and so have access to money and goods, like sheet metal and timber for building houses, western-style clothing, and school materials.
There are primary schools but no secondary school. Teachers are difficult to keep due to the remoteness of the islands. New teachers come every year but half way through many give up leaving the extra load to be carried by fewer teachers. The children are first taught in Ambul and Tok Pisin. Then by grade 2 the children are transitioned to English which is government required.
Where are they located? The Ambul people live on small coral islands off the coast of larger islands. This creates problems for fresh water and food, as well as land to plant their gardens. People canoe to the mainland to fetch water and plant and harvest their gardens.
What are their lives like? The people are farmers - tending gardens on the mainland. They also catch fish to supplement their diets. Most people work tending their gardens to raise food. A few people have jobs working for the timber company.
What are their beliefs? Almost all Ambul consider themselves Christians and are very devoted to their faith. Even though they have churches and some outside contact, there are no Scriptures in their language. The church only uses Scriptures in Tok Pisin, which is not the language people use every day. There are Ambul people who could work on translation, but they need training, resources, and assistance to make it happen. Pray that God will provide the needed personnel and resources for the Ambul people to hear his word in their language!
What are their needs? There are two health facilities in the area: a health center and an aid post. Both are open every day, but are sometimes out of medical supplies. The Ambul area has a very difficult time retaining primary school teachers because it is so remote. New teachers come almost every year, but by a few months into the school year sometimes half of them have quit and gone away. The remaining teachers then have to pick up the slack, often teaching two classes each.