The Bedouin people in Mali
The traditional homeland of the Bedouin is the Arabian Desert in the Middle East. However, some groups have migrated into North Africa. The Bedouin are primarily located in Mali, near the border of Mauritania.
There are two groups of Bedouin. One class is known as the “true” Bedouin, and they live as nomadic shepherds. The other group has embraced farming and is known as the “Fellahin”. The fellahin lead a more settled life on the edge of the desert. In contrast, the “true” Bedouin are known for raiding any caravans that cross their paths while journeying across barren deserts.
WHAT ARE THEIR LIVES LIKE?
The Bedouin have a relatively harsh existence. Those who live as nomads have no permanent homes, but live in portable, black tents made from woven, goat hair. Half of the tent is for the women, children, cooking utensils, and storage. The other half contains a fireplace and is used for entertaining. The women do most of the work, while the men socialize and make plans for the group.
Dairy products are the main food source for the Bedouin. Milk from camels and goats is made into yogurt and butter. Meat is only served on special occasions such as marriage feasts, ceremonial events, or when guests are present.
To endure the extreme heat of the desert, the Bedouin wear lightweight, light-coloured clothing. It is very loose-fitting, allowing for the circulation of air. It is designed to cover the entire body except the face, hands, and feet.
Almost 100% of the Bedouin in Mali are Muslims. Islam has greatly influenced the lives of the Bedouin. For example, to preserve their people, culture and religion the Bedouin are only allowed to marry those inside their own group.
WHAT ARE THEIR NEEDS?
Evangelisation efforts among the Bedouin are challenging due to the harsh and unsettled nature of their lifestyle. Currently, there are no mission agencies working among the Bedouin, but some Christian broadcasts are being aired in the Hassani language. There is still a need for the Bible to be translated into Hassani.
- Pray against the spirit of Islam that has kept the Bedouin bound for many generations.
- Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to reach out and share the love of Christ with them.