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 growing relationships with the many kids who hang around Dan and Joel’s compound, especially Lowuyo, Dominik, Lokwar and Lomua. Pray that as Dan and Joel live out what is to follow Jesus, their lives and their Words would preach the gospel and draw these boys to relationship with God.
Noblesse has felt a tremendous amount of suffering and loss as he has seen many of his disciples either leave for refugee camps or killed in raids. When he was with us in Torit last month, he shared how deeply connected he feels to his community in Chauwa, so these losses have been significant. Pray that Noblesse would be comforted by “the Father of compassion…who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we have received from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).