Passing through the many villages scattered over the hills of Tana Toraja in the central Sulawesi highlands, you soon begin to wonder why they have so many bus shelters, sometimes several in one village. Some may be modest affairs but many are decorated with bright colours and patterns, clearly built with love and care. Even the design of traditional homes and rice stores is replicated for some.
In reality the function of bus stop is just a fringe benefit, for they are in fact social hubs for the local community. A family will take it upon themselves to construct one on the road near their home, where it will be used as a meeting place or social space by any who wish to. After a hard days work in the field people may crack open a bottle of palm wine to chat and relax. Someone may bring a guitar and entertain friends with songs. But ultimately you make of it what you will, sheltered from the sun and rain, in good company and well placed to bid a cheery welcome to all passers-by.