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The Wolof of West Africa
May 21, 2018
The homeland of the Wolof people is in West Africa—primarily Senegal and Gambia—just south of the Sahara Desert. Many live in rural, semi-desert bushland where they work as subsistence farmers, coaxing millet, corn and groundnuts out of the dry earth. They are famous for their hospitality and sense of fun. Teasing guests is a common way of making everyone laugh and feel at ease. Food is always offered and Wolof people will share even when they barely have enough for themselves.
In Wolof tradition, kola nuts are a symbol of relationship and respect. If a man would like to marry a certain Wolof woman, he will bring kola nuts to her father and uncles. The nuts are smooth and reddish and taste quite bitter, yet they contain caffeine and are an energizing snack. Whenever someone moves to a village or enters a new business arrangement, kola nuts are given to the chief or the host to convey honor and indicate a desire for peace and unity.
Among the five million Wolof people, there are only estimated to be about 150 Christians. Thus most Wolof have never met a Christian. Villages are entirely Muslim and Islam influences every aspect of life. Yet, if you were to spend a day with this warm, generous people, you would certainly come to love them!
Pray for them
- It is a challenge to grow sufficient food during the short rainy season, and the modern Wolof diet is not a healthy one. Pray for community development projects that aim to improve agricultural techniques and maximize crop production.
- Healthcare is a big concern, and many Wolof worry about what will happen if a family member gets sick. Few have extra money for medicine, and medical help is not readily available.
- Pray for peace in their land, their relationships and their hearts. (Matt 11:28–29)
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