Introduction / History
The Machinga's homeland is nestled between Lindi and Kilwa Kivinje in a mountainous area inland from the Indian Ocean coast of Tanzania. Their name is fitting for Machinga means "mountains." It is a beautiful area. The neighboring people groups are the Matumbi to the north, Mwera on the west and the Makonde to the south.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The life of villagers living along the coast revolves around the fishing industry. They construct their own boats, maintain them and market their catch of the day. Inland, up in the mountains, the people rely on produce grown on their small farms.
The Machinga value education. Each village has a primary school and secondary schools are regional, serving a number of villages. As an example, one secondary school has a good complex with buildings constructed from cement blocks, stuccoed exteriors and with aluminum roofs. The school has an enrollment of around 400 students. The administrators and teachers are non-Machinga personnel. The students are housed in private homes in the local village.
A happy marriage is highly valued too. The groom is asked to pay a small dowry for his bride and to take good care of her. It is rather common for the Machinga to intermarry with their Mwera neighbors.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Islam dominates the Machinga society. Attendance at the mosque is important and great emphasis is placed on training their children at the madrassa. Often the madrassa structure is superior to that of the mosque.
A village may be totally Islamic but a majority of the people is only Muslim by birth. These nominal Islamic peoples are fertile soil in which to sow the gospel. However, historically new converts are pressured to return to Islam and Christian workers are driven from their villages. Outsiders in government service or teachers in their schools who are Christians usually practice their faith covertly.
* Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers (government, school teachers, businessmen) into his harvest field (the Machinga)."
* Tanzanian evangelical churches and mission organizations to identify felt needs among the villagers (roof on a primary school, digging a well, etc.) that can be met and in so doing gain favor, acceptance and an open door for ministry.
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