Introduction / History
The Marka constitute a large language group of more than 300,000 people who occupy 60 villages in western Burkina Faso. An estimated 45,000 of the Marka live in neighboring Mali. The complexity of the group, with its varied tribes and dialects, makes evangelization and translation work difficult. The Marka are typical of most Burkinabe groups in that they earn their living by farming and raising animals. More and more young men are traveling to Cote d'Ivoire to work on plantations; lack of job opportunities is a major problem for Marka youth.
Families live in square mud huts, and travel by foot, bicycle, moped, or donkey. People enjoy playing soccer, and also spend time making pottery, cloth, and wooden carvings. The Marka retain a strict social and political hierarchy that includes a King, litigation chiefs, war chiefs, and heads of clans and families. There is one central "head" to unify the people, but also a certain amount of autonomy within each village. Translators, literacy workers, and church planters are all needed in the area. Cooperation and teamwork among different missionary groups will help facilitate the spread of the gospel.
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