Gray ash covers a leaf in Berastagi, a mountainous town where Medan residents go to escape from the heat. Berastagi provides most of the fresh produce to Medan, and the falling ash from Mt. Sinabung has hurt many of the crops. Prices have risen as a direct result of the eruptions. (Kelsey Figone/ Indonesiaful)

In the wake of natural disasters

Mount Sinabung, a volcanic peak in North Sumatra, is once again spewing ash onto nearby communities, batuk-batuk (“coughing” in Indonesian) hundreds of times in the past week. It lay dormant for centuries but the recent volcanic activity has caused local residents to evacuate their homes sporadically since September. Winds have carried the ash and deposited it…

Discovering Tana Toraja, land of the heavenly kings

By Catherine Coverley and Catharina Damrell “Bisa cepat, ya?” Catharina and Brooke urged as the sleepy cab driver motored out of Makassar’s Hasanuddin Airport.  Their flight from Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi, had landed two hours late and the overnight bus to Rantepao, the commerce hub of Tana Toraja, was scheduled to depart at 9 p.m. —…

The sights of Sulawesi’s Tana Toraja

Tana Toraja is, hands down, my favorite place in Indonesia. The people are so friendly that they will invite you to share a meal with them while mourning the loss of a loved one, and the views of rice paddies and green pastures are as breathtaking as they are endless. This wondrous place is home…