Bo in Laos

Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2023
Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
People Name: Bo
Country: Laos
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 4,300
World Population: 4,300
Primary Language: Bo
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 5.00 %
Evangelicals: 4.40 %
Scripture: Translation Started
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Mon-Khmer
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Wurm and Hattori's 1981 linguistic reference book, The Language Atlas of the Pacific Area, listed a population of 2,000 Bo people living in central Laos. The 1996 Ethnologue, which includes a brief description of every known language in the world, places the location of the Bo as "Central Laos inland from the bend of the Mekong, Nhang River, around Nape and Lak Sao."40 This description would place the Bo in Hinboun District within the northern part of Khammouan Province.

Other recent studies, including the 1995 census and Laurent Chazee's Atlas des Ethnies et des Sous-Ethnies du Laos, do not mention the Bo either as an ethnic group or a language. More research is needed to determine if the Bo qualify as a distinct people group or not.

Intriguingly, the Bo language is listed as being part of the Viet-Muong branch of the Mon-Khmer language family. It is therefore related to Muong in Vietnam, Nguon in Laos and other varieties. These languages are believed to be distantly related to Vietnamese.

The Bo live near the east bank of the Mekong River-one of the world's greatest waterways. The Mekong rises on the Tibetan Plateau and flows through six countries. One early Western visitor vividly described his fascination with the Mekong.... "Few can regard the Me Kawng [Mekong] without feeling its peculiar fascination. That narrow streak connecting far countries with the distant ocean,-what scenes it knows, what stories it could tell! Gliding gently here, and thundering with fury there where it meets with opposition; always continuing its great work of disintegration of hard rocks and of transport of material; with infinite patience hewing down the mountain sides, and building up with them new countries in far climes where other tongues are spoken.... How few men have seen its upper waters!"

Little is known about the Bo people group, including whether or not Christianity has made an impact on them. Many people have come to Christ in Khammouan Province in recent years, but the believers have endured intense persecution from local authorities. Christians meet in fields, forests and caves, as it is not safe to meet in a building or in their own homes.

Prayer Points

Pray the glory of God would take its rightful place among the Bo people, who were created in His image.
Ask the Holy Spirit to draw the Bo to Christ.
Pray the Bo would soon be a redeemed people, declaring the praises of God to other peoples trapped in darkness.

Text Source:   Peoples of Laos, Asia Harvest  Copyrighted © 2023  Used with permission