Many stories to share: a child I work with half-heartedly concealing physical abuse; a 17 year old German boy who has been here for two years on his own, speaks two local languages fluently and gets beaten up by the neighborhood drunks every weekend. A petty king in Oecusse who was arraigned in Dili for nailing one of his subject’s foot to a piece of wood for a week, as punishment for cattle theft. Slaves buried alive with kings only 50 years ago. Witchery: throwing stones, freezing people with spells, sea horses’ tails for aphrodiasiac.
Last twilight walking through the cemetery in Maliana, past the tightly arranged graves, all facing the mountain, I noticed many had been retiled and improved since my first visit over two years ago. My australian friend remarked that the graves seemed unkempt to her.
She told of the day in Lombok, after Ramadan, the day of the break-fast, when the women go to the cemetery with flowers and jugs of water. They stand over their families graves and the older women cover the younger girls with flowers. Then the slowly pour the water over the girls, the flowers covering the grave.
We passed a burned-out blue house. The sun had set and the landscape was this expiring orange color. The house, though, blue color, the quality of it, the depth, the chilling patterns of smoke and decay on the walls of the house would have inspired fear in the dark. Mesmerizing, but I was glad to only be passing by.