Please pray for Paul and Pamela Madoukou, members of the Bayaka (Pygmy) people of southwestern Central African Republic (CAR). Paul and Pamela are the first Bayaka to study at the Lutheran Bible School in Baboua. They are training in Bible, human rights, agriculture, and health. When they return home after their graduation this coming December, they will be capable of teaching their fellow Bayaka in their own Bayaka language.
The Madoukous are from Banza, a village 14 kilometers (8.5 miles) from Nola, the capital of Sanga-Mbéré Prefecture. This region of CAR is rain forest, populated by the Mbémo and Gbianda peoples, as well as the Bayaka, who live in the forest. The Bayaka are nomads who hunt animals and gather wild food. They are often discriminated against and are frequently unemployed. When they work as domestics, field laborers, or hunt animals for someone, they are not well-paid. Paul Madoukou tells of an example of this discrimination: "When I was a child, I played soccer with my Mbémo friends. After the game, they accused me of stealing 500 francs (about $1). Their parents put me in jail for two days."
Since 1992, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of CAR has sponsored an evangelism program among the Bayaka, and has created a Bayaka-speaking congregation in Banza. Many of them have been baptized. Every Sunday they hear the Gospel. Their children are now going to school. This program has helped the native ethnic groups and local authorities to understand that the Bayaka Pygmies and all people are created by God, and that they are entitled to the same human rights as everyone else.
(This article was written by Pastor Patrice Mbere, professor of New Testament at the Lutheran Bible School of Baboua, CAR.)
Photo: The first Bayaka student at the Lutheran Bible School in Baboua, CAR, together with his wife Pamela and their son Joseph.