We arrived in Alifushi Island at around 11:30 AM on Thursday 20th of February. The first thing I wanted to know about the Island was if they had any cafés so that I could go and have some breakfast after the long journey. I came to know that the island had four cafés, of which I visited all with the exception of one, during my three day stay.
That morning, I had breakfast in “Bite” Café. Located near the harbor, it is the café most easily accessible by travellers who are new to the island of Alifushi. I had the local Maldivian breakfast of ‘Roshi and Mashuni” along with a black tea. I was able to get to know some of the inhabitants of the island in about the forty five minutes which took for my breakfast.
From there, we had a man who helped us take our luggage to the house we were staying in. He placed all the bags in a cart and headed to our “home” in Alifushi Island while we began the task of shooting the documentary.
We headed to the Island School as the school sessions in Maldives usually ends at around 12:30 PM. We were fortunate the session had not yet ended; we were able to shoot the students and teachers while they were executing their respective duties. The two story school was like a ground scattered with buildings.
There were about five buildings located inside the school ground. One holding the school hall, the other holding the staff rooms, two buildings occupying the classrooms and the other building was just recently inaugurated by the Ministry of Education. Higher Secondary grades were introduced in June 2013 with single session being introduced just last month. I met a lot of student, teachers and was also able to speak with some of the Heads of Departments and the Principal of the school.
After completing the task in the island school and having lunch at “Bite” Café, we headed to the area with the boatyards. (Did I mention the Island is famous for its skilled workers in the boat building industry?) Entering into the boat yard of Maldives Marine Services, I was flabbergasted, at loss for words, totally dazed by the size of those boats being built in a single yard.
The boats were enormous, some ranging from 120 to 180 feet. There were about 6 to 8 boats in that single yard, all in different stages of constructions. Several employees of the company were at work, including a generous amount of Maldivian youths, which is a scene rarely seen in the capital, Male’ City.
Our tasks for the first day in Alifushi Island settled at around 6:30 PM. After an hour or two in our “home” in the island, we headed out for dinner. This time, it was a new café by the name “Mahlabiyya”. By the time dinner was over, I was too tired to roam around the island. Nonetheless, I could not stop myself from visiting some of the island shops on the main road, “Ameenee Magu”. A two story business outlet called “Two O Two” happened to be my favorite.
And then I faced the daunting task of sleeping alone in a strange island. I began missing my mother, my two little sisters and brother and my boyfriend. I forced myself into thinking happy thoughts, about the new people I would meet on the coming day, the new experiences I was going to have on the island over the phase of the next two days; and I fell into a dreamless sleep.