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:

Pray for faith

Dan and Joel have now completed sharing the 25 Bible Story set at Chief Angelo’s compound, which tells God’s story from Creation to the Resurrection and Faith. Pray that all who have listened to God’s Truth would “fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness” (Joshua 24:14). May Chief Angelo and his whole family “throw away the…gods that are among [them] and yield [their] hearts to the Lord” (24:23).

Body of Christ

Only a few years ago there were very few, if any, Christians among the Laarim. Now every Sunday small groups of believers are meeting in all three of the villages we have team members in. Pray for the church meeting in Cauwa where Noblesse lives, in Yei where Jacob lives, and in Kali where Dan and Joel live, to grow in what it means to be the body of Christ.

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