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ᝰ THE STORY
An 8-year-old boy from the Baduy tribe walking barefoot seems to effortlessly carry on his shoulder the weight of sizable banana lots. Such goods are taken from the forest up in the hills and transported back to the entrance of the village so that local families can consume and sell them. The Baduy tribe lives about four hours away from the hectic capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta. It is the last real tribe in Java that resists modern influences by keeping a strict tradition within their community. I went there and spent a few days in their villages located in the humid highlands. I got the chance to interact with them and learn more about their way of living.
No vehicles are allowed as a means of transportation. No shoes are ever allowed and the tribe walks barefoot. This is likely one of the most striking characteristics of the Baduy once we enter their villages. As seen in the photo, the boy is used not to having shoes at all and carries on his activity as a normal thing. It is said that children can walk up to 25 km (15 mi) a day during long trips. In recent modern days, it is not uncommon to see some Baduy members venturing barefoot as far as in the urban skyscrapers of Jakarta to sell their traditional products. Anyone of any age walks. This includes very old people just like the youngest children. The locals will tell you this keeps their body circulation optimal and strengthens their immune system. They are of course not immune to unpleasant surprises, but if an injury had to occur, they would entirely rely on herbal medicine and traditional healing treatment. The tribe is split into two sub-ethnic groups: the Baduy Luar and the Baduy Dalam. But any household would help each other and manifest true solidarity as one and only big family. The boys help the men in the fields, while the girls are busy following their mothers to the kitchen or learning traditional dressmaking through the art of Indonesian knitting called ikat. The use of electronic devices is extremely limited for the Outer Baduy and strictly forbidden for the Baduy Luar. For the latter, no influence and no brainwashing from the outside world should enter the local community. Last but not least, no modern clothing is allowed. Only black and blue fabrics that are woven and sewn are the garments of this tribe which implicitly tells other people about it, just like a dress code.
Young Hero aims to highlight such a minimalistic and timeless mood found in a pristine yet remote location while showcasing the underlying strength and resilience of the people native to the area.
📍Lebak, Banten 🗓 2018