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Reaching The Raute: A Unique Opportunity For Outreach To The Raute People

Brother Bishnu has for over 10 years been visiting the Raute people, a hunter-gatherer tribe of around 2000 people who live in the jungles of Western Nepal. He has learnt their language and is one of the few non-Raute people to have built up a trusting relationship with them. As a nurse, he’s been able to assist them medically and also has taken rice, tents and blankets to them in difficult times. They even trust him enough to be willing for him to educate their children. Whilst generally non-receptive to outside influences, Bishnu is seen by them as their link to the outside world. They’ve even allowed him to take some of their members to hospital. Bishnu had himself converted to Christianity and sought to share his faith with the Raute, although he says it’s hard to make progress without being with them for extensive periods. It takes him a few days travel to get to them each time he visits. But now that Bishnu has found the true message of the Bible and been baptized into Christ, he’s the more zealous to take the true Gospel to this people, for whom he feels a special responsibility. There are huge opportunities here to not only assist a needy, isolated people materially, but to enable the spread of the Gospel to the very last frontiers of human civilization; to truly take Christ “to the regions beyond”. Even from the town where Bishnu lives, it can take him up to a week to walk to the Raute, sleeping in a tent, and fording major rivers. The Raute only stay in the same area for 3 months and then take up their tents and move on. He has some amazing stories of his experiences.

Bishnu has taken a number of photographs of the Raute which make a unique collection of material, of interest to ethnographers and any serious student of hunter-gatherer indigenous peoples. We’ve looked on the internet and can find nothing like this material, and it’s our honour to now publish the photos online. It must be the largest selection of photographs and information about the Raute people anywhere online.

Brother Bishnu [far right] just after his baptism by Brother Duncan, March 2009; and with our “Speaking about Jesus” course and sister Robin Jones’ pictorial timelines- great visual aids.

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Bishnu has a real heart for people- he’s involved in various education schemes, an orphanage, and in addition to his own two children, he’s had the heart to adopt another four children into his family, saving them from an utterly miserable existence:

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Here’s Bishnu travelling initially by bus and then by walking and boat to the Raute people:

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Existing by hunting and gathering is precarious, and as a nomadic tribe, the Raute don’t store food.

Raute people gathering food. Note how they take their precious goats everywhere with them rather than tether them:

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So often the Raute are quite desperately hungry, especially with all the changes going on in the ecosystem due to climatic change. Bishnu has carried rice to them, using trekkers and animals, often over difficult terrain:

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There was also a time when he persuaded the Raute to come to a town and receive rice from an NGO:

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Here are some unique pictures of the Raute.

A group of Raute men:

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Raute children:

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Two Raute men- note their hand made clothing. The Raute refuse to wear any stitched clothing, and will accept only blankets and cloth from Bishnu, not clothes:

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Bishnu reports that the Raute women have a very hard time.

Raute women:

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Bishnu reports that there’s been a change amongst the Raute in recent times- they are willing for their young people to be educated by Bishnu.

Raute young people:

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The Raute are good at working with wood and making dug out items from tree trunks. They make larger wooden pots which trade for rice. If someone will fill the pot with rice, then they will give the person the pot and take the rice with them.

Raute men making wooden pots:

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The Raute also make dug out boats which they leave moored at large rivers which they regularly cross:

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Bishnu has tried to understand the Raute religion. It is based around celebrations where they kill goats and dance.

Raute festival:

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The Raute don’t stay in one place more than three months. They pack their belongings and tent materials, and move on to another place in the jungle where they erect their tents. Bishnu was with them on one of their moves and took these photos of the Raute people moving camp:

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Raute people re-erecting their tents:

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Bishnu has endeared himself to the Raute by giving them materials for their tents:

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MEDICAL AID TO THE RAUTE PEOPLE

Bishnu has earnt such trust from the Raute people and their leaders that they have allowed him to take some of them to hospital in the town. This has involved Bishnu taking them on a bus for the first time in their lives:

Raute man boarding a bus for the first time in his life:

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Raute woman in hospital- one of the first times a Raute person has ever been in a hospital:

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As Bishnu’s a nurse he has been able to provide some basic medical aid to the Raute, assisting them with breakages and sprains on location [remember they are days walking from the nearest civilization]. This is why he’s been accepted over the years as a man of great authority amongst them. The following pictures show Bishnu giving medical aid to injured Raute people and doing basic health checkups on Raute children:

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Bishnu has even persuaded the Raute people to accept spectacles and even got some Raute women into a town for eye surgery:

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Here’s Bishnu giving fruit and water to a sick Raute man in a field hospital:

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Bishnu has also taught basic hygiene to the Raute people, giving them soap and even shaving them as a sign of their special trust in him:

med11.JPGAs a result of all this, Bishnu has been accepted by the king of the Raute as the tribe’s special friend:

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Raute tribal elder:

leader.JPGWe feel it is very much of God that we came into contact with Bishnu and that he has accepted the truth and been baptized into the Lord Jesus Christ. Now we have a unique opportunity to participate through supporting him in taking the Gospel, as well as the works of grace, love and care which accompany it, to the very ends of the earth.  Of course there is here the opportunity for someone into trekking and backpacking to accompany Bishnu into the Raute areas and meet them, although for now we’re just working through our brother. Anyone interested should please contact us.

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