Since 2010 missionaries have been living and working among the Alagwa, seeking to share the gospel and support new believers in a fledgling church.
The Alagwa live in 15 villages in a geographically remote area in the hills and mountains of central Tanzania. Although the Bubu river runs through the lower lands, the higher regions suffer from lack of water and they must often walk miles to find water to meet the needs of their families. They are subsistence farmers, growing maize and millet. They also keep cows, goats and sheep. They are very community oriented, living in houses made of burned brick with roofs of thatched grass. The Alagwa speak both Alagwaisa and Kiswahili.
A tribal legend says that some Alagwa once visited Mecca but were rejected by the Muslims for having ‘no religion’ – only animistic beliefs. They later embraced Islam; now, over 90% are Muslims. However, they seamlessly blend traditional beliefs with Islamic ones. Allah, Mungu and Lala’a are all used to refer to God. So although they are called Muslims, their beliefs and practices are strongly steeped in their traditional ways of life.
From 2010 to 2013, a multi-cultural TIMO (Training In Ministry Outreach) team lived and worked among the Alagwa, learning their language and culture and helping with a project to provide a reliable community water supply. The TIMO team has ended, but several members have remained and form a Focus team. The beginning of a church has been planted. The Pugh family, from the UK, returned in September 2014 to continue serving among the Alagwa.
If you are organising a prayer meeting or just looking for material to help you pray with more insight for some of Africa’s unreached people, why not download a printable Prayer sheet on the Alagwa of Tanzania.