Sumba is not Sumbawa. Sumba is an island in eastern Indonesia, one of the Lesser Sunda Islands, in the province of East Nusa Tenggara. Sumba has an area of 11,153 km², and the population was officially at 611,422 in 2005. To the northwest of Sumba is Sumbawa (West Nusa Tenggara), to the northeast, across the Sumba Strait (Selat Sumba), is Flores, to the east, across the Savu Sea, is Timor, and to the south, across part of the Indian Ocean, is Australia (wikipedia).
Waingapu airport, East Sumba. The surface geology of Sumba is composed primarily of sandstone and mudstone. Sumba is believed to be a fragment if the Australian continental crust that was separated some 20 million years ago.
Port of Waingapu
Waingapu market. I always love market, especially traditional ones. Market not only represents hard work, sweat and pain. Also rewards, joy and hope. It represents life.
Big smile of success ...I hope:)
Sometimes the best thing about travelling is seeing people doing mundane things...
Waingapu at dusk. It's just a humble place. But to the locals this is metropolis...
Warung Etnik at Waingapu. I had 2 dinners here served by lovely Ani and Eta.
Aged Beauty. She doesn't know how to read and write. She doesn't know her age. She takes a nap occassionally on the cold and hard pavement while selling peanuts every night Waingapu. She was a joy to talk to. She doesn't give up. You can see it in her eyes. How I wish life could be less harsh to the elderly ....
Pau Village. It is one of the prominent villages in East Sumba where the Raja’s family dwelled. There are several Sumba typical Adat houses and huge carved stone tombs. The village also wel-known for Lau Pahikung. It is the technique of weaving where two different colors of threads are weaved in such a way to produce pattern and motifs of the textile.
Pau villagers (PV). Had a fun chat with them. It went like this:
PV: Are you a Nona (=single)? The Raja's son is still single btw.
Me: Where is he, I'd like to meet with him:).
PV: He's out in the field.
Me: What kind of Belis (dowry) will I be getting then? Can I get like 40 horses?
PV: Absolutely! He can afford even 100 horses.
Me: Okay, done....hihi..
As written on the poster: "Towards safe, just and prosperous Indonesia". It breaks my heart when people who see this poster everyday do not even understand what those words really mean for them.
Rambu Siti and Jelita. She asked me to send her a photo. Will do, Mam.
Rende village. Tin roofed – but otherwise traditional – huts in Rende village, 7 km out of Melolo, enclose the finest funerary sculpture in East Sumba. Here are 4 massive menhir supported tombs, as well as smaller sculptures. Carvings mushroom out of the top of several slabs, featuring a menagerie of animals, a graceful kneeling figure, and in one case a man being killed by a house.
Sometimes when I had to wait for a long transit or when the flights got delayed or even cancelled I asked myself, why are you doing this? But when I meet wonderful people on my journey, I know it's all well worth it. Her name is Tulensi. She's all worth it.
They're all worth it.
Who are you pretty eyes?
Hotel Elvin, Waingapu
Check out Jesus wearing Sumba ikat:)
On the way to West Sumba. Bye Waingapu, see you again soon.
Toilet break between Waingapu and Pasunga:)
Kampung Pasunga, 22 km east of Waikabubak boasts one of the most impressive tombs (above right). Six people are buried in this grave. The vertical
slab took six months to be carved with
the figures of a man and a woman.
During the construction, 150 buffaloes
have been sacrificed. Kalista lives in Kampung Pasunga with her lovely mother.
Ubu Bewi Hill. One of the oldest and considered most sacred place. Marapu priests (called Ratos) come here to pray. They also decide the time for Nyale and Pasola every year.
Keiko's home. Keiko is in elementary school grade 2. This is her home. No electricity but best hill view overlooking rice fields and the sea:)
Wanokaka women carrying water.
Sumbanese consider betel nut to be essential for their physical and spiritual well-being. Betel and areca nut are mixed together with lime and sometimes with tobacco as well. The sharing of a betel quid accompanies all social relationship. Men and women like to chew this mixture that dyes their teeth black in the long run. Formerly whit teeth were considered to a characteristic of children, of foreigners and of animal only. Like dark hair glistening black teeth enhancing the beauty of a woman. Teeth stained by the betel quid are esthetically pleasing and a sign of successful socialization:).
Wanokaka kids. Some have no clothes. Some wear adult clothes. Some wear torn clothes. I know there is only a small correlation between outfits and happiness. Still I can't stop my heart from crumbling... quietly.
My name is Banyi.
Banyi..Banyi... wait for me..wait for me...
I will bring you a pink dress that fits your size
let’s jump on the tombs and catch the butterflies
we can climb the cashew nut tree
pick the fruits counting one-two-three
Banyi….Banyi…wait for me…wait for me…
In the silent of the nights
I pray you will be safe from mosquito bites
may you never have to suffer
from malaria ever...
We are sisters. We are Anni and Sherly.
Waikabubak market. I met some aspiring male models here:).
Cool fish sellers at Waikabubak market
Mama Wilu from Waikabubak market. Everybody knows her. Promised to send her pictures. Soon Mama.
Sumba island is known for its horses. Horses are seen as the ride of the ancestors. Whenever a horse in the savanna neighs, it means an ancestor is riding the horse. That is why herders must always wear traditional Sumba outfits whenever herding horses.
Besides being used as a burden animal, livestock, racing horse, or a ride to herd cattle, horses are also used in weddings (for the groom to gift to the bride’s family) and mass mobilization. The population of Sumba horses continues to decline and could become extinct because the horses are freely sold to other areas such as Bima, Makassar, Denpasar, Surabaya, Yogyakarta, and Jakarta.
Wainyapu girls on Pasola day
Pasola day at Wainyapu. Some serious discussion before the game started.
Great architecture of its own kind.
The Pasola is played by throwing wooden spears to the opponent while riding a horse. The game is played by two different groups of men from different clans or tribes. It is a game that requires a high skill at horse riding and spear throwing skill. It may end up in a bloody game when the wooden spear hit the bare flesh of the participant. In the Sumbanese ancient beliefs, the spilled blood will fertilize the land and multiply the output of the harvest.
Warriors wear protection (layered of clothes ) around their torsos.
The term pasola is derived from the words pa, which means ‘game’, and sola or hola, meaning spear or stick.
On horses, two teams of riders fling spears at each other. There are no winners – the only aim is to draw blood.
Many warriors continued smoking during the "war"..
Once the riders are near enough to each other, they propel their bladeless weapons at each other. The crowd watches, breathless.
The game is thought by some to have been invented as a sort of dispute settlement mechanism or peaceful war through games. For example, it is prohibited to attack or aim a sola at a fallen rider.
Decades ago the spears were sharp, but government rules mean they are now blunt and lightweight.
A Pasola is not considered successful without a proper amount of bloodletting. In Sumba blood on the ground is necessary to make it fertile, and one of the aims of the Pasola is to make the conditions right for the rice harvests that take place in the months of April and May.
Pasola Ceremonies in Sumba celebrated at some places: Wanukaka, Lamboya , Gaura and Kodi. The time of ceremonies are either in February or in March. Marapu priest will announce the date and day of pasola ceremony after 7 night of the full moon.
Many spears miss. But a direct hit raises rapturous cheering. Stray spears often land in the crowd too, sending spectators scuttling.
Spectators. Many standing or sitting on top of the tombs.
Pasola is like Christmas or Lebaran here. People wear their best dresses or in this case their ikats...
This man is a village Chief. He has 15 wives (very uncommon these days). He builds a house for each wife. Wonder if 15 if the final number:).
Me and my warrior:)
The party is over. Time to go home. Till next year, everybody....
My ride for 4 days... Having a lunch break at Tossi beach...
Praijing village. Most beautiful and compact village I've seen so far. No electricity yet although it's only 30 min away from Waikabubak. There are about 40 houses in this village.
Traditional Sumbanese houses are built with tall peaked roofs that are topped with a projecting wooden beam at both ends holding a male and female figure made of carved wood or bound grass. The wooden beams on the roof are believed to be the entrance for the ancestor spirits to enter the house and give blessings to their descendants. The presence of Marapu is omnipresent among the living and the house is also seen as an important place of ancestor worship.
Praijing kids on a Sunday morning.
Gorgeous sisters from Lamboya
Yustin. Smart and curious.
Bye kiddos. Be safe. I'll be back:).
Chillin' at Marossi Beach.
Marossi beach. One of the West Sumba’s famous beautiful white sand beaches. There are two great block of coral reef, each with arched caves worn in their sides, sit at one end of a gray sand beach and the clear crystal water offer you dazzling scenery. This beach is located in Lamboya district, 32 kms from main town of Waikabubak near by the Pasola field of Hobba Kalla along with some traditional villages.
Grandma and grandson at Moto Dawu village.
Moto Dawu village. Quite remote but some house had solar panels.
Pak Andri. Thanks for driving me around. Thanks for the crash course on Sumba cullture (which somewhat have similarities to Batak culture).
My humble accomodation at Waikabubak.
Had a chance to look around Waikabubak. Who knows this could be my home one day:).
The new Tambolaka airport. Opening soon.
Merpati Airlines. One of few airlines that cover this area. Merpati flies from Denpasar (Bali) to Tambolaka and Waingapu. The two entry points for Sumba. Lion and Air and Trans Nusa are other options.
My thought of Sumba