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:
K keenly wanted the Jesus film brought to his home, which was done last week. Early this week K came to tell us he wants to follow Jesus. As we talked and prayed together, he reported a changed heart, away from quarreling and drinking alcohol (a common past-time) towards wanting to have a clear mind to hear and follow God’s word. He has asked that we bring God’s word to his compound for him and his family (one wife and multiple children). Praise God for a new life and light among the Laarim!
This week the portion of the Word shared in the discovery Bible studies, (DBS), was the story of Job, and what was happening behind the scenes.
Here are a few responses from the participants:
“Sometimes we speak out in anger and say things we shouldn’t say…then we should apologize like Job did.”
“When we are disciplining our children, they may get angry with us and even hit back at us, but we are disciplining them for their own good to train them.”
“When bad things happen, we should not accuse God for them. Rather we should do good and trust God.”
Please be praying that the DBS continue to be fruitful and those present would have clear understanding and changed hearts where needed.