Words by Daniel Bosley; Pictures by Aishath Naj
Every morning. On every island. Before the eager sun becomes too intense. The women of the Maldives come out to sweep.
Stooped at 90 degrees, backs straight as a board, these ladies and the determined swish of their iloshi fathi (broom made from coconut palm branches) continue to form a vital part of daily life across the atolls.
As well as a great morning workout (making your back ache just to watch), commitment to this task has kept Maldivian islands in a pristine state that has long drawn praise from foreign visitors.
Regarded as a sign of good housekeeping, failure to remove leaves and other detritus from one’s side of the sandy street is sure to provoke floods of gossip amongst neighbours.
While rapid urbanisation has led to a decline in the practice amongst the younger generation, early risers on the islands can still wake to the gentle whisper of community spirit wafting on the atoll breezes.