Overwhelming. That is the only word for today’s experiences on the island of Sulawesi. The day began with an elaborate dockside greeting in the port city of Palopo, and then we departed for the highlands of Toraja. There we were privileged to observe – and not just observe, but to participate in – one of the world’s most extraordinary funeral rituals. In the Toraja culture, life is but a preparation for the afterlife, and thus death is celebrated as a transition to a better world. Funerals last a week or more and are great gatherings with families from across the region taking turns to honor the dead and demonstrate their wealth and position with gifts, dances, and sacrifices of water buffalo which carry the souls of the dead to the next world. We were welcomed into the ceremonies and took our turn to sit with the families of the deceased – a revered couple, both of whom had lived to over 100 years old. Later, we also visited a “stone cemetery,” where the bodies of the dead are placed in niches carved in a dramatic cliff and represented by carved effigies. Truly, it was an unforgettable day.