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Father Paul Budi Kleden:

Men and Pasola, women and weaving. Those are the two images Maria Matildis Banda uses to present Sumba’s traditional society. Pasola, a competition to test horsemanship, aims to strengthen friendship and harmony. Weaving, in a woman’s world, reflects the deep philosophy of people who hold fast to the traditional belief that everything is part of a great weave. Nothing stands alone — one event is connected to another to form a long and complex whole. Humans and nature are woven together as well. We must continue to weave a new future characterized by cooperation and mutual respect between women and men, who are sensitive to the signs of nature and care for the environment. Like her previous novels, Pasola reveals Banda’s sensitivity in depicting nature and cultural richness, amidst the upheaval of human feelings and thoughts. The conversations, written in East Nusa Tenggara-style Indonesian, transports the reader into the traditional houses of East Nusa Tenggara.


Aster Bili Bora, Writer — Sumba Barat Daya, Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT):

This fascinating novel depicts the Pasola festivities, preceded by the Nyale ceremony in the
village of Ratenggaro. The personal satisfaction of attending these events also brings forth two
essential issues: education and honesty.
Ratenggaro, as a tourist destination, should be preserved according to its developments and
needs. Education and unity are strong elements that urge its citizens to serve as resilient and
authoritative hosts of their land.


H. Anna van Rheeden — Havana Horses — Salatiga, Central Java:

Set on the island of Sumba, where inhabitants live with their horses, Pasola unfolds between 1934 and 1980. This tremendously intriguing story introduces us to many cultural traditions. Banda’s descriptive writing style and dialogue eases the reader into the story’s framework, while the exotic setting awakens curiosity.
As a horse trainer, I was interested in the interactions between riders and their horses, and the ins and outs of Sumbanese horse training.
Pasola is about relationships between people and between people and their horses. Pasola is enlightening, gripping, astonishing, and sometimes extremely funny!


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