This paper addresses a gap in knowledge on real-world applications of community-based disaster risk reduction (CBDRR) approaches. This article provides insights on CBDRR activities from a village in eastern Indonesia based on long-term studies. The adoption of CBDRR approach in Indonesia took place in the late 1990s and the authors have been part of the early adopters of the framework. Using longitudinal participant observations, this research combined qualitative and quantitative data collected during 1998–2017. It shows the rise and fall of a community responding to disaster risks over time. The article further highlights stories of frustrations and celebrations that surround CBDRR activities implemented by one local community in a dryland village in eastern Indonesia.