Introduction / History
The Fula Toro are located in the Futa Toro region of northeastern Senegal, West Africa. Senegal is located in Africa's tropical zone. 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.
The Futa Toro region has attracted various peoples into its fertile land, and together they make up the Tokolor or Fulbe speaking peoples. The Fula 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 Fula Toro are semi-nomadic and live in the southern highlands, or jeeri; hence, their language is called Fulbe Jeeri.
What are their lives like?
The Fula Toro consist of primarily two groups: the semi-nomadic peoples and the nomadic peoples. The Fula Toro 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 Fula 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 Fula 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 Fula Toro. In the middle of each village is a central square. The local market and a town mosque are usually located there. Houses are either rectangular or round, with walls made of sun-dried brick. They are built with flat roofs and have an interior courtyard. Fields that are cultivated by the farmers surround the villages.
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.
The semi-nomadic Fula Toro wander in bands and live in temporary camps. These camps consist of clusters of portable huts surrounded by thorn hedges. The huts are made of poles covered with mats, leaves, and grass.
What are their beliefs?
Virtually all of the Fula Toro are Muslims. Islam is a major world religion that is based on the teachings of Mohammed, the Islamic prophet. The Koran, or holy book of Islam, is said to have been given to Mohammed by the angel Gabriel.
The five "pillars" of Islam include affirming that Allah is the only god and Mohammed is his prophet; praying five times a day; giving alms; fasting; and making at least one pilgrimage to Mecca.
Islamic schools have been set up throughout Senegal. While Senegal is both a French-speaking country and a commonwealth of nations advocate, it has remained a prominent member of the Islamic world.
What are their needs?
The New Testament been translated into the Fulbe Jeeri language. Today, there are only a few known Fula Toro believers. To successfully evangelize these people, we must pray that God will open their eyes to the Truth.
* Ask the Lord to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
* Pray that God will call those who are willing to go to Senegal and share Christ with the Fula Toro.
* Ask the Lord to give the Fula Toro believers boldness to share Christ with their own people.
* Pray that the Fula Toro elders will be led to Christ and, in turn, begin leading their families to Him.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Fula Toro towards Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
* Pray that God will open the hearts of Senegal's governmental leaders to the Gospel.
* Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Fula Toro.