This gap year constantly reminds us that to understand the world today you need to appreciate the depth of faith in so many people’s lives. Sometimes the religious sights are uplifting (think Italian churches), sometimes emotional (women crying at a service in Quito) and sometimes disturbing (the very wealthy new churches going up all over the southern USA states).
But in largely Hindu Bali we perhaps saw the strangest, yet in some ways the sweetest, sight – the daily cabang sari offering.
This is a small palm-leaf basket with an assortment of gifts for the Gods. Every morning, right across the island, they are left outside most shops, businesses and restaurants. We saw women with trays of them going from street to street dispensing these, no doubt to order.
The funny thing is many of the trays included hand-rolled cigarettes. Also by the end of the day, their job done, the cabang sari get trodden upon or driven over, making a complete mess of the pavement.