Introduction / History
The Krio Fula inhabit the western peninsula of Sierra Leone near Freetown, the country's capital. The area in which they live consists of heavily wooded mountains rising from coastal swamps. Annual rains can reach 200 inches, and the humidity is usually very high.
The Krio Fula are of mixed ancestry. They are partially descended from freed African slaves who settled on the coast of Sierra Leone during the first half of the nineteenth century. These freed slaves intermarried with many groups already in the area, such as the Kru, the Mende, the Vai, the Mandinke, the Kissi, and the Europeans. The resulting mixture of cultures and languages eventually produced the Creole race. (Hence the term "Krio" in their name.)
The Fulani (Fula) people settled in the Fouta Djallon region of Sierra Leone nearly three hundred years ago, and mixed with the people of the area. (Hence the term "Fula" in their name.)
What are their lives like?
The Krio Fula are a relatively small people group, numbering less than 50,000. Their language, also called Krio Fula, belongs to the Niger-Congo language family. They are not of pure African origin, but rather, like other Fulani, are of Semitic descent. They are tall with lighter skin, straighter hair, and straighter noses than other African tribes of Sierra Leone.
The Krio Fula are primarily skilled cattle farmers, with their lives depending upon and revolving around the cattle herds. The status of a family can be determined by the size and health of its cattle. The more a man knows about cattle herding, the greater respect he is given by the community.
Herding cattle is usually a male activity; however, the women milk and take care of the cattle. They also tend to the small livestock and poultry, cultivate gardens, and carry containers of milk and cheese to the local markets for sell or trade.
Most Krio Fula also engage in some type of farming. Rice is cultivated in the swamps on the peninsular coast, while millet, peanuts, and other vegetables are grown farther inland.
Krio Fula villages are scattered, but each has a central court and a mosque. Together, these compose a miside (community). Each miside has a headman who handles village affairs and who answers to a chief. The homes of the settled Krio Fula are round with mud walls and thatched roofs that projects over encircling porches. However, nomadic Krio Fula live in simpler structures, since they are so often moving with the herds. These houses have neither walls nor verandahs, and are encircled by cattle corrals.
Daughters remain with their mothers until they marry. However, as soon as a son reaches puberty, he leaves the family compound and lives alone in a nearby compound, usually with some cattle. This new compound will be the home of the son and his future wife.
What are their beliefs?
The Krio Fula are largely Muslim, but many still follow their traditional beliefs. In their ancient religion, the nomadic herdsmen seem to find relevance for the experiences and dangers of their lifestyle.
Some men practice herbal healings, divination, and magic. Fertility is prayed for as an important means of ensuring the supply of future herdsmen and milkmaids.
Meat from the cattle is not eaten by the Krio Fula, except for ceremonial purposes. The "herd owner's feast" is one such ceremony. During this feast, a bull that has served ten seasons is presented, killed, and eaten.
What are their needs?
The Krio Fula have two missions agencies currently working among them. The effort to evangelize them, however, has only resulted in a very few becoming Christians. Further prayer and evangelism are needed to open the hearts and minds of the Krio Fula to the Gospel of Christ.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to any missions agencies that are focusing on the Krio Fula.
* Pray that God will strengthen, protect, and grant boldness to the few Krio Fula believers.
* Ask God to raise up intercessors who will stand in the gap for the Krio Fula.
* Pray that strong local churches will be raised up among the Krio Fula.