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 Angelo and Noblesse as they begin using the newly developed discipleship material with some groups of believers. Pray for wisdom as they disciple oral learners to know and follow God’s Word. Pray for these Laarim Christians to “live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way…growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might” (Colossians 1:10-11).
Noblesse is doing well. He is using literacy training to spread the gospel. He has a DBS bible study group on Saturday and Sunday now. When Kaliva (Laarim believer) is in Chauwa, he is leading the DBS group on Sunday, with Noblesse coaching him. Praise God for raising up leaders from within the Laarim! Pray for their growth and spiritual protection.