Tololela cultural village, Flores

Another traditional housing compound is Tololela, located in Manubhara Village, Jerebuu District, Ngada Regency. The trek from Bena to Tololela takes 45 minutes. The Tololela compound features two rows of authentic wooden houses topped by straw roofs, every bit as authentic as those found in Bena.

There are seven clans in Tololela and, as in Bena, there is a pair of ngadhu and bhaga to represent each clan. The clans here are called Siga Dala, Siga Daku, Siga Lalu Bila, Metu, Be’a, Raba, Siga Pedhu Raga.

The grave of one of the elders is built from modern blue ceramic tiles which somewhat taints the antiquity of the compound. As in Bena, people display buffalo horns and pig’s jaw bones on their porches following the annual ceremonies.

Mattresses and breakfast are provided for overnight stays. Guests can learn to weave and can help with cooking using traditional stone wood-burning stoves. They can also learn to play the bombardom, local traditional musical instrument made from one small hollow piece of bamboo inserted into a larger one. It is played by blowing into the smaller piece bamboo and at the same time moving the larger one up and down. The bombardom’s music tells the story of the history of Tololela, Ngadhu and Bhaga.

The Tololela ceremony called ka sa’o marks the completion of work on a new or renovated house. Bufaloes and pigs are slaughtered, the ja’i dance is performed, and all clan members go home to a feast called meghe which includes the meat from the slaughtered animals.

As modernisation inevitably invades even the most remote areas of Indonesia, we should admire and respect those who choose to maintain and cherish their traditional ways of life.

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