The Laarim of South Sudan
Location and Background: Also known as the Boya or Narim, the Laarim are a Nilotic people living in the Boya Hills. It’s a rugged and hilly terrain with rich savanna, high grasslands and scrub bushes. They live in small settlements, with the main town being Kimatong.
History: The Laarim are close relatives of the Didinga, Murle and Tenet. They believe they came from Ethiopia in the 18th c as part of a group that separated from others because of a dispute over gazelle soup. Cattle-rustling continues to fuel hostilities with the Toposa, and efforts for peace and reconciliation have borne no fruit, though they continue to look for ways to end the long-standing conflict.
Culture: Social and cultural life is centered around cattle, with livestock being their only known natural resource. They breed them, eat their meat, use them as dowry to get a bride, drink their blood and milk, and sleep on their hides. Raiding and stealing of cattle is a question of honor and valor. The do also grow some food, and also hunt and fish. Hereditary chiefs are highly respected. The Laarim share the same rainmaker as the Didinga and perform rain-making rituals in common. The culture is patrilineal, with strong ties of community solidarity. Initiation rituals are followed for passing into adulthood, and dowries are paid for brides.
Religion: The Laarim practice Africa Traditional Religion with some Catholic influence. They are highly aware of spiritual forces, and believe in a supreme being who controls all of life, including the health of their cattle. They believe spirits of their departed ones roam the earth and they can communicate with them through prayers and offerings which they perform collectively in designated ritual places.
Latest Prayer Updates:
Most of the missionaries living among this unreached people group will be departing this month. Pray for the Discipleship Bible Study leaders as they facilitate the gatherings of believers and pre-believers in the communities of Kerenge, Kuduli, Yei, Kali, and Chawa. Thank God that He has given His Spirit to teach, remind, and counsel them. Ask God to give them wisdom beyond their experience, persistence in face of difficulties, and grace and truth for the task ahead of them.
Prayer for the chiefs of the Laarim people: Lord, you have placed these men in leadership over their people. You have allowed them to hear the gospel in their own language and to experience the presence of believers among them. You have given them authority and skills, and now we pray that you make them wise and discerning in their use of their knowledge and position. May they not be selfish and greedy, but instead be just and fair, encouraging the people to obey God and His instructions for living well in the land that God has given to them. Amen.