Introduction / History
The Fouta Toro are located in the Futa Toro Region of northeastern Senegal. In the Futa Toro region, temperatures range from 95 F to 104 F (35 C to 40 C) during the hottest season, and the air is very dry. Large mammals such as elephants, lions, and cheetahs are found in the region, as well as warthogs, monkeys, and dangerous snakes. The rivers are home to crocodiles, hippos, and many species of fish. The Futa Toro region is the richest agricultural district in Senegal because of its two yearly growing seasons. Many of the Fulanis of Futa Toro also live further east in neighboring Mali.
Where are they located?
The Futa Toro region of Senegal has attracted various peoples into its fertile land, and together they make up the Tokolor or Fulbe speaking peoples. The Fouta Toro are related to the Fulani people and speak a Fulani dialect. Fulani tribes are often grouped and named according to their locations and dialects. The Fouta Toro are semi-nomadic and live in the southern highlands, or jeeri; hence, their language is called Fulbe Jeeri.
What are their lives like?
nomadic peoples. The semi-nomadic Fouta Toro wander in bands and live in temporary camps. The Fula Toro people in Mali primarily farm, fish, and breed animals for their livelihood. Some have also become blacksmiths, leather workers, wood carvers, weavers, or potters while doing a small amount of farming.
The Fouta Toro are an entirely Muslim people, and this has greatly affected their traditions and customs. Many of them send their children to village schools to learn to pray and recite parts of the Koran. However, while some of them may go on to become priests and leaders of the Islamic faith, most only have a general knowledge of Islam and the Arabic language.
Among the Fouta Toro, marriage involves a payment for the bride, which is usually made with cattle. Polygamy is generally practiced up to the Muslim limit of four wives; however, many divorce and remarry. Each wife lives in a separate hut, and the husband moves among his wives.
The village is the principal focus of activity for the Fouta Toro people in Mali. Local disputes are handled by the village headman, who lives in the central court, and the imam (Muslim leader) from the mosque. A supreme chief serves as the head of a cluster of villages. His responsibilities include taxing the crops and herds, and settling disputes that cannot be settled by the village headman and imam.
What are their beliefs?
Virtually all of the Fouta Toro are Muslims, although they have kept many of their pre-Islamic beliefs in the spirit world, despite Islamic teachings that they can depend solely on Allah. They believe these spirits can reward or punish them according to what they do in this life.
What are their needs?
The New Testament has been translated into the Fulbe Jeeri language. Today, there are only a few known Fouta Toro believers. To successfully evangelize these people, we must pray that God will open their eyes to the truth.
* Pray that God will call those who are willing to go to Senegal and Mali and share Christ with the Fouta Toro people
* Ask the Lord to give the Fula Toro believers boldness to share Christ with their own people.
* Pray that Fouta Toro elders will be led to Christ and, in turn, begin leading their families to Him.
* Ask the Lord to raise up a strong disciple making movement among the Fouta Toro people in Mali.
Text source: Keith Carey