Introduction / History
The Atong people refer to themselves and their language as Etoh; however, no one outside of their community will recognize this name. They live in five major villages in a moderately remote area of Cameroon. The geography is mountainous and lightly forested. The furthest village is half a day's walk to the nearest road serving Ngie and Oshie. There are an estimated 4,000 plus Atong people.
Except for the village of Akanunku, the area inhabited by the Atong is largely undeveloped. There is one clinic and one secondary school in Akanunku, serving several people groups in this region. Each village has a primary school and one or two churches. Most Atong still adhere to traditional beliefs and practices,yet they are hungry for the Word of God in their own language. This was made evident after visits from a group of evangelists and nurses who held Bible Studies and clinics over several weekends. Even when the students from the Institute for Biblical Studies in Bamenda had left, the local people continued to lead Bible study meetings that grew rapidly and were conducted by local people.
Any effective ministry would require at least the use of Pidgin English, since comprehension of standard English is limited to teachers and various leaders. No deep impact could be made in reaching these people without having the Scriptures in Atong. Even though they desire to have the Scriptures done, it may be difficult to get the Presbyterians and Catholics to cooperate on a mutual Bible translation project.
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