Introduction / History
The Jola are a friendly people who are very relaxed and known for their charm towards strangers. Family is central to the Jola culture and all are treated equal while performing their roles in the village. Rice, millet, corn, and peanuts are grown as the primary means of support.
Folk or popular Islam is the predominant religion. The traditional Islamic beliefs have been changed from the true meaning in order to fit pre-existing fears and beliefs. Their desire to follow Allah is out of fear, not love for him. The Jola believe in both good and evil spirits. The good spirits protect houses from curses and other troubles while the evil ones demand sacrifices. Shrines are also very prevalent with various meanings attached to each one.
The great majority of the Jola claim to be Muslim, although African traditional practices are mixed with it. Polygamy is common.
Mostly farmers, the Jola-Fonyi raise peanuts and rice. The women are responsible for gardening, rice, food preparation, care of the house and children. The men cultivate and produce the cash crops: peanuts, citrus fruits, and mangoes.
There is no caste system among the Jolas, and family relationships are very strong. They strongly depend on each other for their survival.
Primarily farmers, the Kasa use very basic tools to raise a variety of vegetables, as well as manioc and rice. The Kasa raise sheep, cattle, and goats. Women gather kola nuts, berries, and palm nuts.
Jola Fonyi people are largely Muslim, with a substantial number practicing African traditional religion and a small percentage of Christians. Young people are taken to "bush schools" when they reach puberty, at which time they are circumcised.
They prefer to marry cousins and ask for the bride price in the form of livestock.
Where are they located?
The Jola reside in southwestern Senegal in isolated, forested regions of the Casamance with smaller concentrations in southern Gambia and northern Guinea-Bissau.
* Pray that the Jola people will hear and understand the word of God in their heart language.
* Pray that respected leaders and elders of villages to give lives to Christ.
* Pray that the medical and nutritional needs of these people will be met.
* Pray that peace will reign in the Casamance region where many Jola reside.
* Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send out laborers to the Jola people.