As I write we are on Samosir Island on Lake Toba in North Sumatra in Indonesia.
We just spent two days here learning and meeting members of the Batak Civilization. The Bataks are an interesting people. The very abridged version is that they migrated to this area from Malay and Burma beginning some 2500 years ago. They then were "discovered" in the late 1700s, early 1800s by a European who described them more or less as linguistically and technologically sophisticated cannibals. The missionaries came soon after and now there are 6 million, mostly Protestant Christian Bataks living in Northern Sumatra around this region within the large mostly Muslim Island. If you want to learn more about them: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batak
I was struck by a few things.
1) This is the first Island (region) we have seen on this journey that is relatively clean. There is probably 1% of the trash here that we saw on Bali or Nusa Penida. There is a recycling system in place and we actually saw a woman yell at another woman for dropping a wrapper on the ground. Why such a stark contrast? I am not sure, but whatever they are doing, it is working.
2) They still predominantly farm the land as their way of life and they still live in very traditional Batak style houses:
3) They have the most beautiful grave sites. There is usually one per house that I have observed. GO TO MY INSTAGRAM: @ianwinermytruth to see many more pictures like the one below:
One could literally do a tour of nothing but their grave sites. Interesting tidbit is that they dig up the bones 10 years after death to polish them and then they put them back in the tomb.