Introduction / History
The Wodaabe are nomads who live in the Sahara desert in Niger in Africa. They are a subgroup of the Fulani.
The Wodaabe live in the bush. They have camels, donkeys, goats and sheep. It can be hard to find them as they travel a lot and the tracks of them are not able to be traced in the sand.
Some Wodaabe like to be called Bororo. The Fulani were first seen as a people group in the Senegambia valley in the eleventh century. They travelled east and south of the Sahara desert for about the next four hundred years. Their religion is Islam and they have influenced present day West African peoples. The Fulani and Islam have had much influence here for about a thousand years. The Wodaabe being a subgroup of the Fulani have much the same history.
Most of the Wodaabe look after cattle and do trading. They move about looking for grazing land and water. They trade in dairy products and in fabrics that sell for a high price not only in West Africa but in the world. The Wodaabe like longish greetings when you meet them and then there is a tea ceremony. Cows are important to them for a living. They live in grass huts or have no shelter. The men look after the cows and camels, the women look after the donkeys and cooking fire and the children look after the sheep and goats.
In the rainy season, the Wodaabe drink milk from the cows. They do not drink milk from the goats. During the long dry periods of the year, millet is their main food. They only eat the meat of their goats and sheep on special occasions.
The Wodaabe are artistic and are famous for their dyed cloth. The women do the embroidery. The men dance during some of their festivals and that can sometimes last seven days. They regard it as being important that the women see the white of the eyeballs and teeth of the male dancers. The men wear smart costumes here.
Regarding marriage, the family of the Wodaabe bridegroom gives a bride price to the family of the bride and then they are married. The bride remains with her husband till she is pregnant and then lives in the home of her mother for three or four years. The baby is delivered and she becomes Boofeydo meaning "someone who has committed an error". During that time she cannot see her husband or talk to him either. It is classed as sin by the Wodaabe for him to have any involvement with his wife or their young child at this time. After two or three years she can visit her husband but she and the child cannot live with him until her mother can buy everything that is needed for the home.
The Wodaabe believe in Polygamy. They speak in Fula.
Pray that they come to Jesus Christ and realise that having a baby is not an error and that it is meant for a man to be with his wife from the beginning.
Text source: Anonymous