The Ajuran of Kenya
The Ajuran belong to a cluster of peoples known as the Somali, who are scattered across northeastern Africa and the Middle East. The Ajuran are one of the six Somali tribes living in the northeastern portion of Africa. This region, which is commonly referred to as the "Horn of Africa," includes Somalia, Djibouti, and Kenya. The Ajuran are concentrated in Kenya's Northeastern province, where they make up almost the entire population.
The Ajuran are semi-nomadic shepherds. The members of a clan are very loyal to each other, spreading out to ensure that there is enough land and water for all of their herds. The nomads look down upon people who work with their hands, and the craftsmen among them are considered a part of the lower class. Many of the Ajuran are bilingual, speaking both their native language (Garreh-Ajuran) and Somali; some also speak Swahili. Only about two percent of the Garreh-Ajuran speakers are literate.
What are their lives like?
The semi-nomadic Ajuran live in portable huts made of bent saplings covered with animal skins or woven mats. The tents are easily collapsible so that they can be loaded on their camels and moved along with the herds. Villages are made up of several related families. Their huts are arranged in a circle or semi-circle surrounding the cattle pens. The village is enclosed by a thorn-shrub hedge to protect them from intruders or wild animals. The men's responsibilities include caring for the herds. The women are in charge of both homemaking and home building. They milk the animals, cook, and tend to their families.
The moving patterns of the Ajuran are dependent on the unpredictable grazing region and climate of the area in which they live. If water or grazing land becomes scarce, the families pack up their portable huts and move across the desert. The wealth of most Ajuran is in their herds of camels, cattle, goats, or sheep.
According to Islamic law, a man is permitted to have as many as four wives. Polygamy is commonly practiced among the Ajuran. Unfortunately, the divorce rate is very high. The children of divorced parents are usually split by gender; the wife takes the girls and the husband takes the boys.
Formerly the Ajuran's diet consisted almost entirely of milk products; however, maize and rice are now usually included. Chewing qat, a mildly hallucinogenic stimulant, is a favorite social pastime.
Ajuran women lead very difficult lives, usually being treated no better than slaves. Some believe that women have no souls. Occasionally, new brides are beaten by their husbands so that they will learn submission. The men expect their wives to bear them many children, so the women often face back-to-back pregnancies. Because malnutrition is a problem, the women must fight for the survival of their children. The wives live in separate huts from their families.
What are their beliefs?
The Somali tribes were converted to Islam in the 1400's. Today, the Ajuran are virtually all Shafiite Muslims. They are very orthodox in their religious practices. Some of them even believe that they descended from Arab Muslims. However, linguistic research shows this is not the case.
Although the Ajuran are staunch Muslims, few of them have a deep understanding of their faith. They are a very proud people who consider Christians to be inferior. Muslims consider Jesus to be a prophet, a teacher, and a good man, but not God's son. They also believe that all men and animals will give account for their actions after they die. They believe that they will be judged by their good works and by their knowledge of the Koran. Muslims say prayers five times a day while facing Mecca.
What are their needs?
In recent years, the northeastern regions of Africa have suffered from severe drought. Healthcare facilities are insufficient to meet the needs of the people. Christian medical teams and supplies are desperately needed.
- Ask God to send forth medical missionaries and supplies to help meet the needs of the Ajuran.
- Pray that the Lord will raise up additional missionaries who can effectively reach out to Muslims.
- Ask God to anoint the Gospel as it goes forth via radio and television to the Ajuran.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to soften their hearts towards Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
- Pray that God will reveal Himself to these precious people through dreams and visions.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Ajuran bound.
- Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
- Pray that strong local churches will be raised up among the Ajuran by the year 2000.
See also the following related group:
the Somali of Somalia.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Ajuran
- Country: Kenya
- Their language: Garreh-Ajuran
- Largest religion:
- Christians: <1%
- Church members: 4
- Scriptures in their own language: New Testament
- Jesus Film in their own language: Available
- Christian broadcasts in their own language: Available
- Mission agencies working among this people: 1
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 11,600 (31%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 25,800 (69%)
- Country: Kenya
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 116
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Bethany World Prayer Center
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