03-Jul-2011 -- While working in Sumba on a consultation for UNICEF, we had a couple of days off before we could book a flight back to Jakarta. Pak Frank asked if there were any confluence points on the island and we found there was one that had last been visited in 2004.
We started for the point from Waikabubak in West Sumba at noon and asked the driver to take us to Tarimbang beach which we thought would be closest entry to the confluence point. After a four-hour bumpy and difficult ride, we arrived at the beach and the GPS revealed we were still 5 km away from the point. We tried to find a path along the beach but were not successful. Local residents told us we should back track along the road and take a different route to the beach.
It was late afternoon and getting dark as we drove this route. We took the other turn off and arrived at a river crossing around 10 p.m. in a remote part of the forest. Our car was not a 4x4 and the driver was reluctant to cross, so we returned to Waikabubak and arrived at 1:30 in the morning.
After a short night’s rest, we went back the next day. During our trip, we encountered a large crowd of local villagers on horseback who were angry and carrying spears and long knives. We learned that someone had raided their property and stolen horses and water buffalo. The villagers were burning brush to try and locate the raiders and were hunting for them on horseback (photo 7).
We continued on to the point and decided it would be best to not ride any horses for the rest of the day. We stopped at the river crossing and walked to the point. The point was located in a river bed that bounded private property. The owners were suspicious about us and wanted to know why we were walking on their property. We passed along the road around their property and came back down along the riverbed. The river was low and the point was in midstream. A cow’s head skull was very close to the point.