The Laarim of South Sudan

Population: 7,000-10,000

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:

Jesus loves us. He will return someday.

While Jacob was away for nearly a month, he had Paulo stay on his compound. Paulo is the elder of the gathering of believers in Yei village. When Jacob sat down to talk with him, he begin singing a simple song he had composed while Jacob was away. The song in Laarim simply says, “Jesus loves us. He will return some day.” Paulo’s grandson told Jacob that his grandfather had come up with this song to encourage himself while he was staying at the compound alone. Pray for Paulo, that the Lord will continue to put a song in his heart and be the friend that is always near.

Partial healing

Lucia and her son, Marino, spent most of March in Juba getting treatment for a condition that has left Marino unable to speak for over a year. He needed surgery to remove growths from his larynx. We thank God that the surgery went well, however not all could be removed at once and Marino is still not speaking much above a whisper. We also thank God that the biopsy of the masses did not reveal any cancerous cells. The surgeon has told Lucia to return to Juba in May/June for further surgery. This has been a difficult journey for Lucia and her son, but she has not wavered in her belief that God has been her help and strength through it all – “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens!” (Psalm 68:19). Please pray that God would heal Marino completely, that his voice would be restored, and he would use his mouth to speak the praises of God.

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