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Pygmy, Baka in Gabon

Pygmy, Baka

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Pygmy, Baka in Gabon map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
8,800 Baka Ethnic Religions 30.00 % 1.00 % No No   

Pygmy, Baka in Gabon

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Introduction / History
A large number of unreached Pygmies live in the tropical rain forests of Central Africa. They inhabit the region that stretches from Cameroon, across the Congo, into Democratic Republic of Congo. At least one of the groups, the Akebou, also occupies parts of Togo, West Africa.

Pygmies are best known for their small size. Adults usually grow to be only three or four feet tall. In fact, their name, "Pygmy," is derived from the Greek word, pyme, which means "a cubit in height."

Pygmies are the earliest known inhabitants of the Congo Basin, which is located in Democratic Republic of Congo. It is also reported that the Ituri Forest has been occupied by Pygmies for over four thousand years. The Pygmies who live there today call themselves Mbuti. The Mbuti includes such groups as the Efe, the Aka, and the Bayaka Pygmies.

Pygmies are lighter skinned than their neighbors. They are a gentle, peaceful people who have the ability to be camouflaged so well in the forest that they can be passed without ever being noticed.

What are their lives like?
Pygmies are forest dwellers, with most relying on hunting and gathering for survival. Some may also farm in the middle of the forest. However, they will abandon them while the crops are growing to hunt and gather, since that is what they know best.

Today, Pygmies no longer inhabit the forest areas alone. Many groups of farmers have infiltrated the region and built villages there. The two peoples have developed an economic, mutual dependence, and live together peacefully. Because of this, the Pygmies usually speak a dialect of the tribe with which they are associated, whether Bantu, Nigristic, or Sudanic.

Pygmy men hunt deer, pigs, hippos, and elephants. Some Pygmy groups use nets to hunt, while others use spears or bows and arrows. Usually, the only domestic animals that are kept are hunting dogs. Forest resources, such as meat and honey, are traded to farmers for corn, salt, clothes, and iron tools. While the men are hunting, the women are busy collecting wild fruits, roots, insects, lizards, and shellfish. They also do most of the fishing.

Pygmies live in nomadic bands that range in size from 20 to no more than 100 people. These bands wander across the hunting territories that are collectively owned by the whole group.

Pygmy villages are permanent, but campsites are used while the men are hunting. The villages consist of houses and cooking areas. They are usually free of weeds and trees, except for banana or coffee plants. Campsites, on the other hand, are located in the forest, so the sun does not always find them. Perhaps this accounts for their lighter skin color. A typical campsite is small and contains only about 20 to 35 people. Round huts are built and arranged in a circle. They are usually constructed with flexible poles set in the ground in a circular pattern. The poles are bent to where they come together at the top, then tied and covered with leaves. Leaves and bark are used to cover the poles.

A Pygmy generally has only one wife, but polygyny does exist, especially among the Baka. A Pygmy man obtains a wife by giving a gift, or "bride price," to the girl's family. The Mbuti, as well as other Pygmy groups, also practice "sister exchanging" as a means of obtaining wives.

Pygmies typically dress in simple loincloths that are made from the beaten bark of trees. In some tribes, the back strip on the loincloth extends nearly to the ground, giving a "tail-like" appearance. They like these long strips because they look good while they are dancing.

The music of these forest-dwellers differs considerably from the music of their neighbors. Although Pygmies do not have many instruments, they do have drums, whistles, and two-stringed bow-guitars. Their "singing" consists of yodeling, and most songs have only sounds rather than words. They do not often sing in unison, but rather one person sings or yodels at a time.

What are their beliefs?
Pygmies believe that a god named Tore created the world and is the supreme being. He is identified with the forest, since everything is dependent on it. They only call upon Tore during times of crisis. He is usually summoned by a trumpet blast, which is supposed to imitate his voice. Some groups believe that after creating the first humans, Tore was no longer interested in the affairs of the world, and so he withdrew to the sky.

Pygmies also believe that "forest spirits" influence the souls of the dead. The Efe, in particular, believe that after Pygmies die, their borupi, which means "rhythm" or "life," is carried away from the body by a fly. They believe the fly takes them to Tore.

What are their needs?
While the national government provides health and educational services for some Africans, Pygmies are not included. Medical supplies as well as trained doctors and nurses are needed to work among them. Educational facilities and teachers are also needed.

Spiritually, the Pygmies are in need of a Savior! They must be told that there is a loving God who cares for them and longs to make them a part of His family. Who will tell them that the Creator is a Father who will never abandon them?

Prayer Points
* Ask the Lord to call missionaries who are willing to live among the Pygmies and share Christ with them.
* Pray that African Christians will begin to reach the Pygmy tribes with the Gospel.
* Ask God to raise up Christian teachers and medical teams to work among them.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of Pygmies towards Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
* Pray that God will open the hearts of African leaders to the Gospel.
* Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Pygmies of Central Africa.
* Pray for completion of Bible translation in this people group's primary language.
* Pray for the availability of the Jesus Film in the primary language of this people.

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Country: Gabon
Continent: Africa
Region: Africa, West and Central
10/40 Window: No
Location in Country:Cameroon border area, Woleu-Ntem province: Minvoul; Ogooue-Ivindo province: Makokou, Bélinga.
(Source: Ethnologue 2016)
   
 
Maps
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Country Map:Political map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
 
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Pygmy, Baka
People Name General: Pygmy, Baka
Alternate People Names:
BabingaBayaka
BebayakaBinga
Binga PygmyEastern Pygmy
ROP3 Code: 100811
Joshua Project People ID: 10587
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 8,800
Population all Countries: 65,000
Least-Reached: No
   
 
Affinity Bloc: Sub-Saharan Peoples
People Cluster: Pygmy
People Name General: Pygmy, Baka
Ethnic Code: BYG12
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
   
 
Language
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Primary Language: Baka
Language Code (ISO): bkc    Ethnologue Listing
Secondary Languages:
Baka (Unknown)
Total Languages: 2
   
 
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity30.00 %(Evangelical: 1.00 %)
Ethnic Religions70.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent15.00 %
Protestant25.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic60.00 %
 
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
   
 
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Evangelicals have only a very small representation among all who claim to be Christians.
Least-Reached: No
GSEC Status:Level 2   Less than 2% Evangelical. Initial (localized) church planting within past 2 years
 
 
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1995-1996
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
 
 
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
 
 
Ministry Activity
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Networking: Visit LinkingGlobalVoices.org for networking possibilities.
Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
 
Data Notes
Data Sources
 
 

Pygmy, Baka in Gabon

Peoples
               
Geographic
Global                 Global
           
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
           
   
People Cluster
       
Region
   
    Pygmy     Africa, West and Central    
     
People-Group-Across-Countries
   
Country
   
      Pygmy, Baka Gabon    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Pygmy, Baka in Gabon          
      Religion Language  
      Ethnic Religions     Baka  
    Global    
Language
 
    All Religions                              
   
Religion
                             

Direct link:  http://legacy.joshuaproject.net/people-profile.php?peo3=10587&rog3=GB