IN THE BEGINNING Clan chief Paulus Dara scratches his head and screws up his face. "How long have we been here? Hundreds of years, maybe thousands. Maybe forever." Dara heads one of nine clans in Bena, a village 18 kilometers south of the hilltop town of Bajawa. Bena, and dozens of villages like it, are almost untouched by tourism or the modern world, earning Bajawa and its cool green surroundings a reputation as a living museum and the cradle of Flores culture.

Villagers in Bena will tell you they are Christians, but their faith seems a thin veneer...

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