Some words and pictures about things I’ve noticed lately.
(Click on thumbnails for bigger pic)
The delight on a little girl’s face as her dad lets the kite string run free. The spool of thread whirls crazily around a stick she’s holding while the kite dances across rooftops all the way to the other side of the island. When it’s out over the boat harbour, dad grabs the string and the kite shoots skywards until it’s almost lost to sight in the storm cloud.
A noisy card game in the middle of the haruge (political party’s meeting place) while old guys at the back try to stop them drowning out their presidential candidate’s speech on the video.
I’m having fun playing funky reggae and Dhivehi rock with the local band at an Eid party celebrating the end of Ramazan. The dancing kids part as a lady in black appears in the middle of the room: the mother of the rhythm guitarist has come to take him home. A couple of weeks ago, a visiting speaker at the mosque delivered a long Friday sermon on the evils of music – especially this kind of music.
The anticipation on boys’ faces as the fat kid does a 30 metre run-up for his belly-flop into the harbour.
A wild monsoon storm is raging across the soccer field. A corner kick floats the ball across the goal mouth, a brilliant overhead scissor kick slams home the goal, Riverside win the final and a young man becomes a local legend.
(I don’t know why his team is called Riverside – there isn’t a single island in this nation that’s big enough to have any kind of river).
3:30 on a hot, still afternoon. The streets are deserted; everyone is indoors waiting for the heat to go out of the day. Dark clouds in the west promise cool relief and a spectacular sunset, while thunder rumbles like distant cannon-fire until it is drowned out by calls to prayer from the three mosques, their interweaving melodies creating random harmonies.
The school caretaker is watching his friend fishing in the harbour. He snaps a narrow leaf off a palm frond, folds the thick end into a triangular knot, and strips the rest away from its spine. Later, he’ll thread it through the gills of half a dozen fish to carry them home.
It’s late evening and floodlights have been set up so the men who’ve built a new haruge on my street corner can finish the painting. It’s bright pink, colour of the ruling party. Across the street, another group takes advantage of the pink guys’ lighting to paint the corner yellow and put up posters for their party. Next morning, a building on the opposite corner has its faded pink from the last election replaced with the red and green of a new party. Later in the day a few pink flags go up on poles in the street. Not to be outdone, the yellow team comes back in the evening to erect a 20 metre flag pole in the middle of the intersection with flags covering the guy ropes that radiate in every direction… and it’s still three weeks till the election.