Introduction / History
The Tapei language, also called Mem, is spoken by almost 300 people who live along the Arafundi River in the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. There are only two villages where Tapei is spoken — Awim and Imboin.
The people's staple food is sago, a starchy food made from the processed trunk of the sago palm. They also eat some garden produce, such as bananas and greens.
The Catholic Church began working in the Tapei area in the mid 1970s. Most people in this language group would call themselves Christians, although in fact many are only nominal Believers.
The whole Bible is available in Tok Pisin, Papua New Guinea's national and major trade languages. This is the language most commonly used in church, but the vernacular is also used to some extent. Many people (especially women and children) have limited proficiency in Tok Pisin.
Cross-cultural missionaries are needed to assist in Bible translation. An oral approach (such as recordings or Bible storytelling) could be helpful in this area.
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