Maan in Liberia

Photo Source:  DFID UK - Flickr  Creative Commons 
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People Name: Maan
Country: Liberia
10/40 Window: No
Population: 365,000
World Population: 483,000
Primary Language: Maan
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 8.00 %
Evangelicals: 2.00 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Mande
Affinity Bloc: Sub-Saharan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Maan live primarily in southern Guinea and northern Liberia. In Liberia, the Maan are considered to be Minimally Reached; however, in Guinea they are Unreached. The Maan in Liberia speak a language (also called Maan) with many dialects. Between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, many Mande-speaking peoples (including the Gio, the Maan, and the Kono) migrated from the north. The Mandingo forced the Kpelle to move southward and they, in turn, forced the Mande-speakers farther southward. Most of the Maan settled in Guinea. However, many immigrated to Liberia at the end of the 1800s when the French occupied Guinea. Today, about a quarter of the Maan live in Guinea and the others are in Liberia.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Maan people in Liberia make their living as subsistence farmers. They grow rice as their staple crop, cultivating large plots of land outside their villages. Farming involves the entire family. Boys chase birds away or hunt them before they can kill the crops. The women weed the fields. Besides rice, the Maan grow pineapples, peppers, beans, okra, onion, maize, and bananas in their farm villages. In addition, they cultivate coffee and peanuts as cash crops. The Maan select a new farm site each year, cutting and burning the bush undergrowth and trees to prepare their fields. Hand-made fences surround the farmland to discourage threatening animals. After planting, they offer sacrifices to their tribal gods to ensure a good harvest. The Maan keep several kinds of farm animals, including cattle, goats and chickens. They do not milk their cows and they don't eat the eggs of their chickens. Most of their protein comes from fish; both men and women fish and they also buy frozen fish in the markets. The Maan also hunt; however, the introduction of firearms has led to a significant depletion of game animals in the forests. The Maan believe that no meal is complete without rice. They sometimes toast and eat winged termites as snacks. Although some Maan people in Liberia must sleep in the small, temporary farm villages during harvest season, most live in towns year-round. They locate their towns on high ground with water sources nearby. Maan communities range from as few as ten to as many as several hundred people. The towns are crowded, with the houses built close together. The Maan live in square homes with low-walled porches and thatched roofs. They usually build their houses on clay platforms to keep out the rain.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The great majority of the Maan of Liberia practice animism (believing that non-human objects have spirits). They worship Wala, the creator god who lives in heaven; however, they have little idea of what heaven or life after death is really like. The Maan believe that small men or goblins live in the bush. These goblins are friendly ghosts, but they might kill anyone who destroys their homes by clearing the land. They also practice witchcraft; witches often curse and sometimes kill their victims.

What Are Their Needs?

The New Testament and the JESUS Film have been translated into Maan, as well as several other gospel recordings and portions of an audio Bible. There is a need for additional evangelistic tools, Christian workers and continued prayer to see these precious people blessed by becoming part of Christ's heavenly family.

Prayer Points

Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to mission agencies focusing on the Maan, leading gospel workers to people whose hearts are open. Pray for Christian radio and television broadcasts to be made available in the Maan language. Ask the Lord to give the Maan believers boldness to share Christ with their own people, and to draw entire families to Himself. Ask God to call Christian teachers and medical teams to go to Guinea and work among the Maan. Pray for a church-planting movement among the Maan that will result in churches and disciples multiplying to many generations.

Text Source:   Joshua Project