RUGURU OF TANZANIA
by AFRICAN MISSION FELLOWSHIP - STRATEGY GROUP JULY, 1994
The people are known as Ruguru and their language Luguru.
They are one of the many unreached peoples of Tanzania. Tanzania has the largest number of ethnic groups (27) in our database of African ethnic groups who have over 200,000 members and less than 20 percent followers of the Christian religion.
Dominant animals in the area are cattle, but the Ruguru are predominantly agriculturalists.
Similar dialects: (According to informant at Lutheran Seminary) Ruguru, Bagamoyo, Kisiju, Zaramo, Khutu, Kami, and Kwere. All of these intermarry.
Pure Ruguru, and the majority of all Ruguru live in the mountains to the south of Morogoro. There are also large populations of Luguru speakers in Matambo and Gaita. In the lowlands they are often mixed with other tribes. To the East of Morogoro they are mixed with Masai.
Morogoro is a good eleven or twelve hour trip from Nairobi, but to Dar-es-Salaam is 187 kilometers. Roads are being upgraded, but paved to either destination.
There used to be a lot of Greek tobacco and sisal farmers in Morogoro. Therefore, there is much western style housing available.
The mountains give the city of Morogoro a beautiful setting.
The Lutheran church has worked among the Ruguru for more than sixty years. Most of their labors have been in the lowlands. They are just now beginning to call in large numbers of workers because they feel the people are finally receptive. They have plans for a dozen workers to arrive over the next five years.
Some independent, evangelical churches are doing well. They use Swahili in their services and thus are drawing only the more educated and more traveled among the Ruguru.
We were able to set down and discuss religious matters with both traditionalists and Muslims. According to the Worldview Dissonance Scale, the Ruguru are open to change in their worldview. They have been left behind in many of the major developments in the country. Their living in the mountains has kept them fairly isolated. Only in the last ten years have they begun to attempt to play a larger role in the country as a whole. Their main areas of dissatisfaction have to do with the lack of respect for elders and the old social structures not being able to cope with present day problems and challenges.
Morogoro is the Diocese seat of Catholic and Anglican churches. Though neither is very large. Missionaries at the Lutheran Seminary said there were 40,000 Lutherans province and only 1000 were Ruguru. He thought maybe 4000 Catholic Ruguru in the Mountains. He said nothing being done on the road to Mikumi.
The SDA in Morogoro were non-Ruguru people.
The Anglicans cooperate with the Lutherans, but AOG were not cooperative, in fact they proselyte members and preachers. They have a good impression of the Church of Christ with their experience of students who came from Dar-es-Salaam.
The Lutherans are the fastest going group. There are few evangelical groups at work in Ruguru and none of them are doing any real concentrated or well planned work. In an interview with Herb Hafermann, pastor of Lutheran Junior Seminary, Morogoro, he stated that many Ruguru would claim to be Muslims, but actual adherents were very small percentage of the ethnic group. They corroborates Grimes (Ethnologue) who lists the Ruguru as primarily follows of traditional religion. Haferman stated that they had made 1000 converts from among the Moslems in the last three years.
The Evangelical Assembles of God are the largest evangelical group in the area. However, only ten percent of their members are Ruguru.
Almost all Christian groups, in the city and in the rural areas, use Swahili in their services.
Via public transport the ride from Nairobi to Tanzanian border was 2100Ksh, from the boarder to Morogoro 27,000Tsh. Tanzania exchange rate is 455 to $1 USA (July 1993).
There are many shops, hospitals, churches, and schools in Morogoro. There is much produce. The city market is supplied each day with fresh vegetables and fruits from the mountains and Dar-es- Salaam. There are several nice restaurants in town including Indian and Italian. The shops had an ample supply of both local and imported products.
There is a huge Agricultural college in Morogoro. There are Americans teaching there as well as Tanzanians who have been educated in the west.
There is a major culture and language learning center in Morogoro called Wamo (Wageni Morogoro) [P.O. Box 827, Morogoro, Tanz. Tel: 056-20899 contact person M.F. Biswalo] or the Institute for Adult Education - Expatriate Center. They teach Swahili regularly and teach vernacular on demand. There is a mix of Christian and Moslem teachers. Beautiful grounds on the slop of the mountain behind Morogoro. They can offer full service, room and board. They have one month courses and they are set up to host retreats.
Lutheran Seminary is also a renowned training facility for culture and language. They have four and one month courses. See brochure for prices. There were twenty expatriate students in school at the time we visited. They cater to Lutherans first. Right now their long course is full because of the large influx of Lutheran missionaries. There is a kindergarten for child care. There four families who are resident missionaries.
There are dictionaries and a grammar available for Luguru language study.
Water filter 22,500 - 35,000.
Oscillating fan - 15,500
4X6 mosquito net (single) - 2,600
Stainless Steel Cookware set (six pieces) - 14,750
Wool Blanket 60X90 - 6,270
Door Mat - 650
Area Mats (plastic) - 3,500
Ladder (5ft aluminum) - 22,500
Water cooler - 7,750
Filer elements - 5,500
AA Batteries - 300 for 4
AA Batteries - 300 for 4
Rice - 170 per Kilo
Flour - 210 per Kilo
Sugar - 250 per Kilo
Live Chicken - 800
Milk is difficult to purchase, even UHT or powdered milk. You can purchase some fresh milk at the city market, by order, in one specially designated shop.
Sellers in the market were not all over us. They had listed prices for the most part. Fish, tomatoes, snow peas, greens and tangerines were prevalent. Not many herbalists. There are several butcheries.
Entry into Tanzania has been smooth. The prospective missionaries normally work through Dale Dennis (Dar-es-Salaam) to process documents. The government has been open to new workers. The Churches of Christ are well established with a hospital at Chemala and works in Mbulu, Arusha, Moshi, Sukuma, and Dar-es-Salaam.
Based upon receptivity tests, church growth, and observation it is believed that the Ruguru are receptive to the Good News of Jesus Christ and that many congregations could be planted among them. A mission team which used the Luguru language in communication and services would be fresh and novel.