Security is not normally an issue on the smaller islands, with people still wandering in and out of neighbours’ houses just as they always have.
However, though official statistics show a five-year low in reported thefts, even the friendliest house must take some precautions against local thieves.
At night time, as bicycles and other valuables remain unlocked outside, the houseproud lie in wait for hungry bats, ready to raise the alarm and scare away these flying foragers.
Tin cans are most often employed for the purpose, whether they be emptied of cooking oil or the latest caffeinated craze, to be filled instead with coarse sand and rocks and set up high in the branches of the mango trees, common in the atolls’ spacious gardens.
From here, a rope hangs down where it is usually connected to the neighbourhood watch, poised to disturb the peace with an almighty clanging that’s guaranteed to scare of any vagu vaalu during mango season.
The only issue with the classic home security system pictured here, in Alif Alif Rasdhoo, are the tourists staying at the recently-opened guest house next door. Night watchmen fear that these welcome new visitors are likely to be as startled by the midnight melee as the old unwanted kind.
Perhaps the owners may have to consider another common approach and put nets around the tree; a method that is certainly quieter, though not half as much fun!