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:
Angelo, our South Sudanese team member in Kimatong, has been participating with the team in using DBS to reach the Laarim. He was excited and refreshed by the DBS training here in Torit and went back to Kimatong with renewed enthusiasm to keep reaching out to more homes and communities, sharing the Word of God in simple Bible studies, so that more Laarim will come to faith. Pray for him! Pray that he will “be strong and not give up, for [his] work will be rewarded” (2 Chronicles 15:7).
Angelo, an educated Laarim youth who has assisted much in outreach among his own people, is regularly helping in the local clinic. He has a vision to study to become a clinical officer, and thus support himself in doing ministry. Pray for God’s direction in his life and blessing on his ministry.