Tag Archives for christianity

23Oct2010

King of the District: Part 2

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Governor Hein’s clove cigarette fizzes hypnotically, dipped in the incense, and from the utter darkness the ancestral Moro talks the Tobelo language in an old, old woman’s voice, the men around me reechoing jo… jo… jo… hypnotically. It’s like an alien plainsong. He comes in goodness. We all have good hearts. He will do us […]

01Oct2010

Tales from the Moluccas #1: MIA

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In the village, they’re still a little mystified as to what happened to Jeff. He was a missionary, you see. At least, he said he was. Spent years of his life tending his Togutil flock, only recently salvationed away from their nomadic, hunting-gathering life and corralled, more or (generally) less willingly, into government villages. Then, […]

17Sep2010

A Fistful of Dollars

little girls in marching band, Rantepao, Tana Toraja, Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Our favoured local, back in Rantepao in the Tana Toraja, was the hangout of the local Guides Association, a Teamsteresque conglomerate of the most amiable rogues since Dick Van Dyke. Sporting various permutations of Aviators, moustaches, long hair, cropped hair and funeral sarongs as night-time outerwear, the chaps spent most of their time out back […]

05Sep2010

Souls Growing Skywards with the Trees

Trees silhouetted against twilit sky. Baby graves, Pana, Tana Toraja, Sulawesi, indonesia.

At Pana, the cave graves were easy to find, half of them broken open, looming out of a granite slab in the oncoming dusk and framed by dark bamboo. The baby graves? Well, as the beautiful kids who gave us directions and made us sign the guestbook said, they were in a “big tree”. “These […]

02Sep2010

Buffalo Soldiers: Living for Death in the Tana Toraja

Funeral buffalo sacrifice, eyes open, throat slashed, dying in a pool of its own blood on the grass. Tana Toraja, Sulawesi, Indonesia.

“Are funerals like this in London?” asks my new Torajan friend. The dead man’s drum-shaped coffin emerges from the matrimonial bedroom where he has “slept”, preserved in formalin, with his family for the last eight months. Now he has left the house, he is finally dead, his soul winging its way towards the afterlife. “Not […]