Difficulty in adopting to change – 4 cases from Fuvahmulah.

Here I’m going to list out four times we had difficulty in adjusting ourselves to changes.

We don’t like change. It makes us feel uncomfortable. That’s why we oppose it so much. Not only that, in Fuvahmulah there are people who benefit from the old ways. They are the ones who lead the opposition.

Gn AEC was built in the early 70s but till 1999 some people refused to send their children to that school. This is what I heard from some of the elders.

“I’m not letting my children learn things that are foreign (faranjee)”

“There is no use in what they learn from there. I teach my children how to build, how to weave, and how to cut lumbers. Do they teach that? No”

In the late 80s my grandfather refused to send all of his children to school. He and his two brothers had 21 children, some born 1995, 1998 and 2000. None of them had gone to school.

After that came the toilet. The toilet was introduced in the early 2000s. In 1998 and 1999 few upper ruling class houses had toilets. But most house owners began to adopt it in early 2000s. Of course, these innovators face opposition.

“This is not the way to perform the call of nature”
“This is western influence”
“You will not have a proper bowel movement if you perform call of nature without squatting. Squatting is important”

Until mid 2000 people used wood for cooking. This status quo began to shake when gas was introduced. It was around 2003-2005. It took a few years for all households to adopt. Why? The usual oppositions. This is what I heard:

“Gas is dangerous”
“There were cases of gas bottles exploding. It explode like bomb.”

Fast forward a few years, in late 2000s the airport was opened in Fuvahmulah. We watched first flight landing on live TV. But before it opened there was fierce opposition against the airport.

“Airport will cause too much vibration. It will damage the houses nearby”
“Airport requires a big run way, we don’t have that much land”
“Flights are noisy. It will ruin people’s sleep, and damage hearing etc”

It is not that old ways are better. We are just comfortable with old ways. Changing and adjusting tothe changes are always difficult for us.

Original 07-09-21
Proof read 17-11-21