Introduction / History The Kurias live in southwest Kenya where they have the Maasai, the Luo and the Maragoli as their neighbors. More than half of the Kuria people live across the border in Tanzania. Their language is one of the Bantu languages that they call Igikuria. Historically, the Kuria people were pastoralists, keeping very large herds of cattle and growing subsistence crops like cassava, millet, finger millet and sweet potatoes.
Like most African tribes, the Kuria people have historically lived in homesteads made of circular grass thatched huts. The homesteads vary in size, the bigger ones belonging to the polygamists. Having many wives and a large homestead are signs of prestige. Today, the general lifestyle of the Kuria people is changing. They are now involved in cash crop farming, concentrating on tobacco. They keep fewer and fewer animals, as many farmers are selling them to educate their children. With increased population, land is becoming too limited to keep many animals. Cattle rustling in the 1970s contributed to the decreased role of animal herding.
In the past, education was not well received among the Kurias despite the great educational efforts of early mission groups including the Catholic mission of Isibania, the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) mission of Nyabikaye, the PEFA mission of Taranganya and the Maranatha mission of Komotobo. This accounts for the low literacy rate among the Kurias and the large number who are animists. Fifty percent (50%) claim to be Christians, but few are evangelical. Fortunately this trend is changing dramatically as more Kurias receive formal education. Hopefully education will speed the development of the Kuria people and the use of their language. There is a great need for the New Testament to be distributed and put to use by the Kuria people.