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:
I was encouraged just yesterday with the group of youth boys that I meet with on a weekly basis at my home, as I listened to all six of them share their personal prayer requests and without hesitation pray for one another. Two years ago if I would have asked one of them to pray, there would have been a long period of silence followed by most of them saying, “I don’t know how. ”
We praise God for his Grace in opening the hearts of the Laarim and drawing many to Himself. Pray for continued growth.
Pray for an upcoming veterinary outreach clinic planned this month with one or our AIM missionaries in South Sudan who is a vet from California. Imagine the keen interest the Laarim cattle keepers will have in this! Pray for open hearts to the Gospel in addition to animal husbandry.