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Torajans Live

Front pillar on a traditional Torajan home.

“We’re Christians.” So the Torajans will tell you, but come on. I’m not buying it. Christians don’t live in houses shaped like boats. Who’s with me?

The story goes that when ancient Torajan folk came to Sulawesi, they converted their boats into homes, and that’s why everybody lives in water buffalo horn-shaped digs. There’s also a story that the shape comes from replicating the buffalo horns, but that sounds silly to me.

Any which way, they’re ornately carved like giant jewel boxes for a lucky little girl. A girl who likes to have buffalo horns and skulls (photo at top) hung from the outside walls to indicate her family’s status in the community.

Darling little orphan girl in traditional dress for the entertainment of foreigners like us.

Although the Torajans went along with missionaries’ Christianity, they still maintain old animist habits, most notably their elaborate, expensive, community-wide funerals.

But that’s the next entry. For now, here are some photos of living Torajans, who are more charming than the semi-dead ghosts selling t-shirts and souvenirs if you can see them.

Torajan neighborhood.
I don't remember how old this woman was but it was really old. Ninety something I believe. Isn't she a peach?
Dr. Jess diagnoses an entire village.
The party wagon doubles as a hearse.

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