Everyone is familiar with images of cerulean seas and swish resorts of the Maldives with rooms on stilts where alcohol flows and honeymooners basking on white sandy beaches. But these are some images of Maldives beyond the resorts.
I took a trip to some local islands and walked through the streets...I saw a football field in every island, a modern mosque with a loudspeaker playing prayers through the day.
Many houses have been traditionally built out of coral, though that is now changing. Each house had a joli- a rope seat in a wooden or metal frame. Bread fruit and almond trees lined the spotless sandy streets, swept by women every day.
Women tended to fires, made bread and fish broth; children played under the shade of trees.
I saw this tiny girl deeply immersed in her book!
Bright flags of political parties hung in garlands. Every village had a small boat building yard, a local store and a small school. Some islands even had souvenir stores for tourists who visited them.
This was such a vastly different world, compared to the tourist brochure Maldives!