| · Population: 900,000, Muslim: 99.9%
Juba Arabs are an unreached Muslim people group
Living along the western border of Somalia the Juba Arabs are one of the smallest unreached people groups of Africa. Originally from the Arabian peninsular, the Juba speak an Arabic dialect called Maay. Approximately 650,000 Juba live in Somalia where they inhabit the fertile regions around the Wabi of Shebele. Another 275,000 Juba live across the border in Ethiopia.
Located on the Horn of Africa, few nations are poorer than Somalia with little industry and few natural resources. The region has been devastated by civil unrest and tribal war, which has continued since 1991. Although Somalia has 1,700 kms of coastline, the landscape is dry and barren with temperatures averaging 50 degrees Celsius all year.
While many Somali are nomadic herdsmen, the Juba are mostly farmers growing coffee, wheat, vegetables, dates, mangoes and pomegranates. Coffee is an important part of Juba life with a tradition of a daily coffee time. Because wood is so scarce, the Juba burn animal-dung for their fires.
How the Juba live
The Juba observe distinct class structures which are reflected in the various clothes and manner of dress. Women wear veils both at home and in public. When boys enter manhood they are allowed to wear a variety of headwear. Marriage among the Juba are strictly arranged within their own tribe. Children play a significant role and are considered a valuable asset to every family.
Village life is essential to Juba culture. Their villages are somewhat more structured than other Arabs of Africa. Most homes are made of mud-brick with a flat roof and most have only one room. Occasionally, the roof is made of grass thatch which extends out to make a verandah. Another style of home is similar to the Sudanese. These homes are a one room circular hut with a cone shaped thatch roof. Floors of the houses are either mud or thatch. Goats and chickens are kept in a small yard and provide daily provisions of milk and eggs. A family will often own several small houses and have a surrounding fence of either mud or thorn branches.
The Juba are Sunni (Shafiite) Muslims. There is no church and no Bible available for the Juba.
Prayer guide for the Juba Arabs:
* Ask God to provide the strategies to know how to begin to reach out to the Juba of Somalia and Ethiopia. (Isaiah 43:19-21)
* Pray for the men and women who would be willing to face the necessary challenges to begin to pioneer a work among the Juba.
* Pray that Juba children and teenagers would have an opportunity to hear the Good News. (Romans 10:14)
* Stand against spiritual strongholds that have kept the Juba in darkness. (Psalm 70)
Background on Somalia (World Factbook)
The regime of Mohamed SIAD Barre was ousted in January 1991; turmoil, factional fighting, and anarchy have followed in the years since. In May of 1991, northern clans declared an independent Republic of Somaliland that now includes the administrative regions of Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed, Togdheer, Sanaag, and Sool.
Beginning in 1993, a two-year UN humanitarian effort (primarily in the south) was able to alleviate famine conditions, but when the UN withdrew in 1995, having suffered significant casualties, order still had not been restored. Today the Horn of Africa has been hit by the worst drought in 60 years, with some areas on the verge of famine.
Economy of Somalia
Somalia’s economic fortunes are driven by its deep political divisions. The northwestern area has declared its independence as the “Republic of Somaliland”; the northeastern region of Puntland is a semi-autonomous state; and the remaining southern portion is riddled with the struggles of rival factions. Economic life continues, in part because much activity is local and relatively easily protected. Agriculture is the most important sector, with livestock normally accounting for about 40% of GDP and about 65% of export earnings, but Saudi Arabia’s ban on Somali livestock, due to Rift Valley Fever concerns, has severely hampered the sector. Nomads and semi-nomads, who are dependent upon livestock for their livelihood, make up a large portion of the population. Livestock, hides, fish, charcoal, and bananas are Somalia’s principal exports, while sugar, sorghum, corn, qat, and machined goods are the principal imports. Somalia’s small industrial sector, based on the processing of agricultural products, has largely been looted and sold as scrap metal. Statistics on Somalia’s GDP, growth, per capita income, and inflation should be viewed skeptically.
Statistics on Somalia
Population: 10,085,638 (July 2012 est.) World Rank #86
Life Expectancy at Birth: 50.8 years. World Rank #216
Ethnic groups: Somali 85%, Bantu and other non-Somali 15% (including Arabs 30,000)
Religions: Sunni Muslim
Languages: Somali (official), Arabic, Italian, English
Literacy: 37.8% male: 49.7%, female: 25.8%
School life expectancy: 3 years
Video: Into Somalia (BBC)