Thursday, March 1, 2012

If only the missionaries would have listened

The Karo tribe is small, I'm told only about 250 people living in 3 villages along the Omo River

One day some Christian missionaries came to the Karo.

The missionaries wanted to change the traditional ways and beliefs, according to Pora, one of the elders. For example, they decreed church would be on Sundays at 8:00 AM. But the Karo didn't have watches. And when was Sunday anyway? Western time was irrelevant to their way of life. "And the missionaries wanted us to pray all the time," said the elder. He couldn't understand why.

Another example stirring resistance to the missionaries, according to another elder, "Say on church day a woman wanted to go to church. But the husband wanted his coffee (actually the Karo have their own version of Starbucks). If she went to church, he didn't get his coffee."

The elders debated killing the missionaries. Instead the Karo men beat the outsiders and sent them  packing.

I met with the elders many times during my stay. The first time I explained that I had come to listen and learn the Karo ways. They told me that the Karo traditionally believed in one God, had personal gods that watched over them and even communicated with their personal gods.

Wait, isn't that exactly what the Christians believe? Don't Christians believe in one God, a personal Savior called Jesus and pray to God through Jesus?

That night I wrote in my journal: "If only the missionaries had listened first, they would have found that we're all looking for the same truth."

Warriors with personal gods. Each person has a personal god to watch over him, just like the Christians.
Karo tribe, Omo region, Ethiopia

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