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 is a valuable member of the Kimatong team. As a Laarim believer who was educated in Torit, he has both the language (English, Juba Arabic, Laarim), and the commitment to the Lord needed to be a witness for Jesus among the Laarim. He has been working at the local clinic and is planning to go for training as a clinical officer in order to better serve the community. This plan has been disrupted by the closure of schools, but in the meantime, he continues to preach the gospel and disciple new believers. Praise the Lord! Pray the Lord will pave the way for him to move forward in furthering his education, all for the glory of God.
Please pray for these key Laarim believers: Maria, a young girl who has taken some initiative in the past to lead Bible studies and worship for others; Lokolong, a young teenage boy who reads the Laarim bible well (there are so few who can do this among the Laarim!) – may he hunger and thirst for God’s Word; Marino, village chief, to “grow up in his salvation now that he has tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:2); Logwe, blind, and yet he “sees!”