Maldives - Day 6July 26, 2018 on the Maldives ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C
Today we had organised an excursion to a local island to immerse ourselves in the true Maldivian culture & experience how the locals live. Our guides from the resort (great guys by the way) transported us by speedboat to Himmafushi Island, home to about 900 people whose major employment includes either work at the fish factory or the water desalination plant located on the island. There was a small school (Kindergarten-Grade 10), mosque, local government offices, police station, health centre & community swimming complex, in addition to the sports ground (sand soccer field), dive centre & local shops. The buildings & lifestyle of the locals is pretty primitive & it is clear that everything runs on island time - what an awesome way to live! All of the land has been gifted to the locals by the Government & they are encouraged to build dwellings & create communities. There is no rent paid to the Government on these islands & the locals are pretty much self sufficient. The Government makes it's money from tourism (resorts have to pay island lease fees & fully develop their island, in addition to paying a portion of their income revenue in high taxes) & exporting fish to the world - of which there is an abundance. The Government ensures that some of the 1200 odd islands are dedicated to food production too with root vegetables, watermelon, mangos & bananas growing for the locals & visitors. Everything else is pretty much imported to the region which makes the whole tourism industry a pretty impressive, well oiled machine.
Today, as tourists, we were able to purchase souvenirs from 'The Lobster' store (the resorts have an arrangement with the locals whereby souvenir shops are rotated amongst the tourists to ensure everyone gets a 'fair go'), where we bartered our way to purchasing some local wares - it was an hilarious & quirky experience. We loved that items left behind by other visitors were on display for sale too - used Haviana's, an old swim shirt & an Under Armour cap! Gotta love their enterprising spirit!
Our afternoon was spent snorkelling, lazing by the pool & sipping on cocktails before eating again (Mediterranean Night at Feast) & ambling back to our bungalows.Read more