“My grand mother has passed away three days ago. The dead body odor is quite disturbing now. So the family have decided to burry her this noon,” said Mama Weru when I came to her house in Tarumana village, Wanokaka. Elon, the youngest son is sleeping in her lap. While Gusti, Elon’s brother and the cute Ninuh, are still sitting around me. They look so interested with my pocket camera.

“My husband and my brother are looking for a buffalo right now,” she said again.

When I traveled to Sumba, I realized that a possession of water-buffalo is a benchmark of social status. The longer a buffalo’s horns, the more money it will fetch when sold. A buffalo with horns as long as man’s arm can fetch over 20.000.000 rupiahs.

This animal has an important place in Marapu culture. When somebody dies, his or her relatives will gives buffalo to the family of the deceased, just like Papa Weru did. Then when somebody gets married, buffaloes are offered as a dowry. Sometimes the material requirements are difficult to understand for ordinary people just like me. (Dwi Putri Ratnasari/ Travelboogie)