Introduction / History
Possibly as many as 1,100 Sach people live in a remote part of Khammouan Province in Laos. They inhabit high and isolated mountains in the Bouarapha District. The Sach are also located across the border in Vietnam, where they are officially considered part of the Chut minority group. Political borders mean little to the Sach. They freely wander between the two nations whenever it pleases them. Other ethnic groups closely related to the Sach in Laos include the Arem, May and Ruc.
The Sach were officially counted in the 1995 Lao census as having 2,745 people, under the name Xaek. This figure, however, includes people from the Arem, May and Ruc ethnic groups. The Sach are the largest of the Chut tribes in Laos, and so were probably given the honor of having the whole group officially named after them.
The Khammouan mountains where the Sach live are also home to exotic animals such as the elephant, giant muntjac, pygmy slow loris, two different species of langur, the Asiatic black bear, and the tiger. The Sach live in fear of the tiger, although their numbers are dwindling and the instances of people or livestock being attacked by tigers are much lower than a few decades ago.
The Sach are primarily engaged in agriculture. They grow rice, corn, vegetables, beans and tobacco. Accordingly, the Sach could be considered the most advanced of the different Chut groups. The other tribes rely on hunting, fishing and gathering food from the forest.
After a Sach woman gives birth she is required to live with her baby in a hut outside the house for two or three months. Only after going through complicated purification rites is she allowed to re-enter her home.
The religious ceremonies and rituals of the Sach are presided over by shamans, or spirit-priests, who are believed to possess special powers that enable them to communicate with the spirit-world. The shaman is often not only the priest, but also the village leader, counselor and physician of the community.
Locked away in almost inaccessible mountains, few Sach in Laos have ever been exposed to the Gospel.
* Pray for determined Christians to go to the Sach and find ways to share God's love with them.
* Ask God to raise up laborers to plant churches among the Sach.
* Pray that the Name of Jesus Christ would be glorified among the Sach, and His works would be on their lips.
|Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway Copyrighted © Used with permission|