Do you want to integrate cultural awareness into your homeschool, public school, or Sunday-school curriculum? Here are some fast facts about the lives of Bakoum children!
Bakoum children can be seen carrying sugar cane, sucking out the sugar, then spitting out it’s pulp. During mango season there are buckets of mangos all over Bakoum villages. Bakoum children love to eat them as well. However, their families warn them that if they eat too many mangos, they will get malaria. Because of this, many mangoes rot on the ground. There are also sugary-sweet pineapples that grow on bushes in Cameroon, as well as papayas that children climb trees to get.
But more than anything, Bakoum children love what they call kaando which is kind of like a long potato that grows in the ground. They soak it, take off its husk, and let it dry in the sun. It looks like a pile of white rocks laying out in front of peoples’ houses. Once it is dry, their mothers or sisters often boil it and serve it with a side of leaves or vegetables. It has the consistency of bread dough. And of course, Bakoum children, when they have a little money, love to go to the market and buy candy!
Bakoum children have lots of brothers and sisters! It is not uncommon for a Bakoum boy or girl to have 8-9 brothers or sisters and to share a room with 4-5 of them. Bakoum children love it when their mothers have another baby because they love playing with them. Because the mothers have so many children to care for, often a child as young as 5 or 6 years old will watch their baby brother or sister throughout the day.
In Bakoum culture, whoever is the oldest is the one with the most authority. In America, mothers and fathers often tell kids what to do, but it Bakoum culture, whoever is older takes the role of the mother or father and tells their younger brother and sister what they can or cannot do. Younger children are taught by their parents to obey their older brothers and sisters.
When it comes to discipline, anyone older has the right to discipline anyone younger than them. Also, parents do not stop disciplining their children when they become adults. In the mind of the parents, their sons and daughters are always their children that must be brought into submission through corporal punishment. Usually the punishment is done publicly in front of the house or in the street. Parents generally don’t mind if their children do things like lie or have boyfriends / girlfriends very young. However, what makes parents really upset is if a child brings shame to their family. If a child gets caught stealing, for example, the parent will discipline the child in front of the one they stole from to show that they take it very seriously.
In American culture, if someone hits you, oftentimes the children are taught to go tell an adult. This is not the case in Bakoum culture. If one child hits another, the adults do not want the child to come and tell them. Instead they say, “Take your revenge” and encourage the child to go hit the other child back.
Bakoum children believe that when someone dies, their spirit stays in the village with them. These spirits are sometimes angry and scare children at night. Bakoum children do their best to make these spirits happy. They also believe that there are witches and sorcerers that live in plants and transform themselves into animals and hurt people. Because of this belief, they are very careful to not touch certain plants, and do all that is necessary to keep the witches and sorcerers happy. Bakoum children believe in a creator god they call Shambu, but this god is not the same as the God of the Bible (he has 12 wives…). Bakoum children need to hear about the God of the Bible who sent his Son Jesus to die for their sins.
Please pray for Bakoum children
- Pray that Mr. and Mrs. Hare will be able to communicate the Gospel message to Bakoum children in a way they can understand
- Pray for they would love and follow Jesus
- Pray that they would be different than their culture – that they would be kind, honest, forgiving, and lovers of peace
- Pray that they would have enough food to eat and that the little boys would learn to work hard now so they can care for their families when they grow up