In the 14th century, the Jula started establishing trade routes and trading centers across western Africa, including the area now known as Mali. Today, they remember their rich history through storytelling and dance. Both Jula men and women live up to their name, which means “itinerant trader,” by working as merchants. Outside of work, men usually devote themselves to studying Islam while women cook, clean and care for children. Obedience and honesty are highly valued by Jula, as well as community and respect for the elderly, as only a small percentage live past the age of 45. There are no known churches or believers among the Jula in Mali. Portions of the Bible have been translated into their language.
“Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre! For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.” (Psalm 149:3-4 ESV)