Introduction / History
The Lyela of western Burkina Faso number about 184,000. Their language is called Lyele. They live in a hot, dry region which has a short and unpredictable rainy season from late May to late September. The city of Reo, which lies 115km west from Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, is the principal center of the Lyele area.
Nearly all Lyela are subsistence farmers who grow millet, sorghum and some vegetables. They also raise chickens, pigs, and goats. A few Lyela have learned the skills of tailoring and carpentry. Income is earned from the sale of some agricultural products. The diet traditionally consists of a millet or sorghum staple accompanied by a vegetable based sauce which occasionally contains meat. Water is available from village wells. It is the responsibility of the women to get the water needed for all the cooking , cleaning and washing. Because of the heavy load of the domestic chores and all sorts of duties the women have very little spare time if at all. Men however have enough time for drinking beer and talking together.
With the exception of the 5,000 to 10,000 who have professed conversion to Christianity, the Lyela people remain rooted in ancient traditional beliefs, and their practices are often private, even secret. The New Testament is available in the Lyele language. The Lyela are in need of Christian witness and teaching which relates to their cultural, social and economic realities.
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