I grew up on the island of Malé, the capital of the island nation of the Maldives. When I first landed on the island off the dhoni boat, the island was host to 30,000 residents. When I left the island there were an estimated 200,000 people living on the two square kilometres of land pictured above. Those two square kilometres house half the inhabitants of the 1200 island strong nation.
Maldives is more than the beautiful resorts, the breathtaking beaches, and the dazzlingly colourful coral reefs. It is a nation like any other, where people are filled with hopes and fears. Some desire for the good old days to return, others wish for changes to sweep through faster.
I never came across a Maldivian who did not enjoy playing host, even if they had just met the person. It is not without reason they are known for their hospitality. The exquisite cuisine served here is obtainable nowhere else. It remains the one constant among the islanders as the nation braces itself for each new wave of change.