Introduction / History
Around 100,000 Worodougous live in 213 villages and towns. Many are subsistence farmers in the small villages, raising rice, corn, yams, cashews and cotton. Some of their children have moved to larger cities. This change has brought them into larger commercial enterprises or small businesses. Some have gone far in French education and gained government positions. High schools are only in the larger towns. Their grandfathers were the first to become Muslims. But in most of the small villages they are "Muslim" in name only. Most don't go to the mosque. It is their mask and spirit/ancestor worship that really holds their attention. People are afraid of sorcerers, death, hell, and their ancestors, and spend most of their money on "protection" of various sorts.
Funerals are a huge expense, with different days of ceremonies, because of the ancestor veneration. In the larger towns and cities madrasa schools and teaching at the mosque--often through the loudspeakers--teaches the Haddith. The Koran is memorized without comprehension except by higher level students. The older men and women, aware of death's closeness, become very religious. They are very regular at prayers. However, they do not have the sharp attention to all the laws as do middle easterners. Whoever has money has to send the oldest relatives to Mecca.
There were 35 known believers around 2000, and now at least 70. The first believers suffered for their faith. Even today many believe, but hesitate to declare it openly for fear of persecution and rejection (they are not counted in the 70). Around 2001 WEC and IMB stepped into a loose partnership to reach the Worodougou. Nigerian Mission Ami trains missionaries in a school in Abidjan, and in early 2005 sent two missionaries here. One is Worodougou. In early 2004, AEECI--the church planted by WEC in Côte d'Ivoire--sent their first missionaries, a couple (Worodougou/Yakouba)to the Worodougou.
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