Bon Gula in Chad

Bon Gula
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Map Source:  Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
People Name: Bon Gula
Country: Chad
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 3,400
World Population: 3,400
Primary Language: Bon Gula
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 0.42 %
Evangelicals: 0.42 %
Scripture: Translation Started
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Adamawa-Ubangi
Affinity Bloc: Sub-Saharan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Bon Goula (Gula) people live in the southeastern region in Chad. This area is isolated and the nearest paved road is over 500 kilometers away. The climate is arid and very hot. The region is flat with rocky outcrops and is rich in wildlife. Draughts are common in this portion of Chad. When the rains fail, the Bon Gola can face starvation. Chad became independent from France in 1960. Unfortunately, since that date Chad has seen a series of civil wars, the assassinations and arrests of political leaders, coups and wars with Libya and Sudan. A quarter of Chad’s income is aid from the UN, NGOs, France, China, and the USA. International agencies consider Chad to be a failed state. Less than 40% of the people are able to read and write. The two official languages of Chad are French and Arabic. Chadians speak over 100 languages and dialects. Life expectancy in Chad is under 50 years old. In 2003 Chad became an oil exporting nation. Most of the revenue from the oil went to buying weapons and for the salaries of the Chadian military, not for the welfare of the Chadian people. There are few if any followers of Christ among the Bon Gula.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Bon Gula live in 4 or 5 small villages consisting of round mud brick huts. There are no modern medical services or electricity. Ibir has a school, which lacks both teachers and materials. The Bon Gola society is close-knit and very traditional. The Bon Goula live by subsistence farming, cultivating millet, beans, maize, peanuts and sesame seeds. They raise chickens and goats to supplement their diets. The Bon Gola live near or in Zakouma Wildlife Park. This fact has led to a settlement of wildlife wardens in Ibir. The park provides employment for some Bon Gola in administration in Zakouma. In spite of this contact with other cultures, the Bon Gulas retain their traditional ways. The Bon Gula consider themselves to be of the same ethnic group as the Zan Gola people who speak a different, but related language. There is frequent intermarriage between these groups. Families arrange marriages. Parents tend to have a large number of children. Sons inherit the land and property of their fathers.

What Are Their Beliefs?

In spite of being Sunni Muslim by name, the vast majority of the Bon Gola people are fierce adherents of the traditional, pre-Islamic Marghai religion. The Bon Gula are the only ethnic group of the region that wasn't relocated after the establishment of the Zakouma Nature Reserve. The Bon Gula have strong religious bonds to certain mountains. They revere sacred snakes. Even the few Bon Gola people who live in urban areas are traditional and not open to outsiders. Their culture is strongly hierarchical and male dominated. Elders run their villages. There are currently no Christian resources in the Bon Gula language.

What Are Their Needs?

Ask the Lord to send workers to the Bon Gula of Chad. Pray that Christian resources are translated into the Bon Gula language. Pray the Bon Gula would be able to provide for their children. Pray the Lord raises up a movement to Christ among the Bon Gula people of Chad.

Text Source:   Joshua Project