Introduction / History
Isolated in the hilly North West Province near the Nigerian border. Only Sabongida can be reached by vehicle and then only during the dry season when the river is low, since there is no bridge. All other locations can only be reached by trekking from one to two hours one-way.
What Are Their Lives Like?
English is the language of wider communication for the area. It is also used daily by the Bebe, expecially among the youth, mainly to communicate with non-Bebe speakers. Bebe-speakers learn Kemezung and Nsari, the neighboring and most closely related of the Eastern Beboid languages, due to frequent contact with these speakers. The level of comprehension of these other languages, however, is in the marginal range. It varies with the amount of contact.
What Are Their Beliefs?
When asked, the people expressed a positive interest in learning to read and write their own language. They also want their children to learn it. The people of Bebe-Jama stated that they would like to be able to send a letter to a friend and have it understood. They are also open to becoming literate in Kemezung or Nsari. Adult literacy percentages are assumed to be low due to the low educational level. 60-75% of children attend primary school, but very few go on to secondary school due to poverty and distance. Very few secondary schools are available to them.
Buildings are made of mud brick, some thatched roofs especially in the eastern villages. There is no electricity available. One must trek to get to the villages.
Religiously, the two Bebe villages differ in profile. Bebe-Jama claims that the largest religious group in their village consists of followers of traditional religion and that Muslims form the next largest group. They consider the Christians to be few. In Bebe-Jatto, however, there are many Christians and only a few Muslims and followers of traditional religion. In both villages there are three Christian denominations: Baptist, Presbyterian, and Catholic. Baptists form the largest group in Bebe-Jatto. With the exception of a Catholic cathechist in Sabongida (which is a neighboring of Bebe-Jatto), we interviewed no other religious leaders in either village. So we cannot say what potential for cooperation might exist among the various Christians to translate the Bible into Bebe.
What Are Their Needs?
Recordings of the Biblical accounts might be a way to reach this people through Pidgin or through the mother tongue. No forms of Gospel presentations exist in the heart language at present.
What Kind Of Missionaries Are Needed? Someone to produce recordings of Biblical accounts for this predominantly oral culture.
A health clinic is needed.
Pray for spiritual growth in the church and that all Bebe-speakers will have an opportunity to understand and be reached with the Gospel.
Pray that those who are Christians would remain strong in the face of African Traditional Religion.
Scripture Prayers for the Bebe in Cameroon.