Life on the farm begins early - the roosters ensure you are awake! Natsir takes their 2 sons plus a nephew to school at 7am on his motorbike. They also have a daughter who is studying in Makassar. After breakfast we spend a couple of hours down in the garden weeding, lunch is round 11 am, we take a break in the heat of the day, then spend another couple of hours in the garden later in the afternoon. Because we are up in the mountains, the days are hot but the nights cool down.
In between we sometimes wander around the local roads (with our umbrellas to protect from the sun) where the locals are very friendly and welcoming or we can walk across the rice fields and catch a pede pede (van) to Makele to check emails.
From Natsir's farm we walked to a local market in Rembon where a few buffalo were for sale alongside the river. One young yearling bull was for sale for 16,000,000 rupiah (yes! 16 million = $1,600 whilst a larger female was available for 60,000,000 ($6,000).
Most people around here plough their rice paddies with a rotary hoe rather than using water buffalo. They are nicknamed Japanese buffalo.
Although schooling is supposedly "free", the children wear a different uniform to school each day, including Saturday. This alone, precludes many families from sending their children to school. Also, they need to pay to sit exams and there are book costs. Each time a new party gets into Government, the Education department changes the curriculum, new text books are printed and students MUST purchase the new text!
There are about 400,000 Torajaen people living in the region, with three times that number living and working in other places in Indonesia. That fact has helped ensure there is a really good and comfortable bus service from Makassar to here. People return for important family ceremonies - weddings, house warmings and funerals.
We are now heading further north to Rantepao, right in the heart of the Toraja area.