These island dwellers know what it is to exist under constant threat. In Indonesia, hundreds of thousands of people live in the looming shadow of volcanoes that could erupt at any time. There are no fewer than 130 active volcanoes across the Southeast Asian archipelago – more than in any other country on Earth – and despite having endured the most deadly eruptions since Vesuvius levelled Pompeii, in AD79, many communities in Indonesia live nearby the sources of their possible destruction: for farmers, post-eruption soil is the most fertile. Most recently, Bali’s Mount Agung erupted in November 2017 , displacing more than 140,000 people in its most powerful display since 1963. “Suddenly, day became night and repeatedly you could hear booming sounds while blazing lava was bursting out from the top of the mountain,” reported a resident living 80km away. At Mount Ijen, in East Java, local sulphur miners work with modest tools, and they do so inside the crater itself. Fifty-five-year-old Ahmad has been mining sulphur here for 40 years. It is hard, manual labour for a product valued at just 1,500 rupiah (80 HK cents) a kilo. When I ask Ahmad if he ever thought of finding another job, he says there were few other options locally for him as a junior school graduate. If he had wanted a different job, he explains, he would have had to have left the village, which he did not want to do. In August 1883, the eruption of Krakatoa was one of the most violent in modern history, killing more than 36,000 people and affecting the climate, causing global temperatures to drop by as much as 1.2 degrees Celsius. In December 2018, a massive blast from Anak Krakatoa – a small island that emerged from the Krakatoa caldera after the 1883 eruption – ruptured a slope and triggered a tsunami that hit the surrounding islands and the coasts of Java and Sumatra, destroying buildings and resulting in 430 casualties. In East Java, the Tengger community that lives around mounts Bromo and Semeru is known for its Kasada ritual. Held once a year, the ceremony honours the mountain god, with agricultural produce and animals thrown into Bromo’s crater. In Ngadas village, 44-year-old Tengger shaman Senetram narrates the legend behind the ritual. Childless husband and wife Joko Seger and Roro Anteng asked Bromo’s mountain god to grant them fertility. The god blessed them with 25 children on condition that they sacrifice their last child by throwing it into the crater. Because they loved their youngest child the couple delayed the ritual, causing the volcano to erupt violently. According to the tale, it didn’t stop until the child was thrown into the angry crater. One of the world’s most active volcanoes, Mount Merapi , in Yogyakarta, erupted in a devastating explosion in 2010. The calamity claimed more than 270 lives and forced locals to relocate for a significant period of time. But after things returned to normal, the community took an entrepreneurial approach, offering “lava tours” in four-wheel-drive vehicles. The archipelago’s volcanoes may be an ever-present threat, but for many in Indonesia they are also part and parcel of everyday life.