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:
Pray for Simon Lokualong, a Laarim man who has recently heard the whole message of the gospel. He shared that “he had not heard God’s Word before, but he was learning.” Pray that he will continue to be open to hearing and receiving the message of salvation through Jesus Christ.
We are continuing to use the Jesus Film to expose the Laarim in our village to the Gospel story. We are encouraged by how the people stay engaged with the two-hour long film, despite competition from the loud hum of the bugs! Pray for Chief Angelo and those on his compound who are meeting regularly for Bible study since showing the Jesus Film at his house several weeks ago. Pray especially for Lokwanang who is coming consistently and engaging well with the stories. Pray that he and others attending the Bible study will be drawn to come to Jesus and choose to follow Him.