The headache went away. The remedy isn’t clear, but one thing I do know is that I got to play four games of Fifa in a brilliant makeshift gaming lounge. Aagib really wasn’t playing about when he decided to get into gaming. He has handcrafted a projection board out of velvet and premium curtains (which he “borrowed” from a hotel he once worked at….). It was bigger than any TV I’ve seen and it really was the dominating feature of the room. Furniture had been sacrificed in favour of inflatable beds to lounge on and the only connecting room was a perfectly furnished bathroom; for those of you who know me, you will know how much I appreciate a good shower. This bathroom in his attic had the works; I’ll post a photo of it sometime.
But should I have been so surprised to stumble onto such a premium entertainment experience? Furthermore, should I have been as surprised as I was when I found out that the flawless projector screen had been handmade, and not imported? The assumptions are probably understandable if you haven’t spent much time here, but inexcusable if you have done. One thing which never gets conveyed when you hear about a so-called “third-world country”, which in fact is what the Maldives was classified as until 2011, is how people are more independent and self-sufficient than their equivalents in developed Western culture. Here, if something breaks, you don’t call someone out and pay them, you fix it yourself. If your computer breaks, you order the broken part online and replace it yourself. If you need food, you go fishing. Unhappy with your home? Design and rebuild it yourself. In short, a lack of readily available funds forces people to use their own ingenuity instead of choosing the quick fix.
It dawned on me when I got my phone fixed, that back in England people are a lot more hesitant to pick up skills for themselves by themselves. It seems that even learning a skill has become commercialised so that if people want to learn something, they will invest a lot of money in books, classes and materials which could easily be replaced with common sense and figuring things out for yourself; this is to say that people want someone else to improve them. For example many would feel uncomfortable leaving their technology with someone who has not been properly trained to fix what can be simply fixed the Maldivian way: find a video of it on YouTube and keep having a go until it finally works. I remember sitting in the computer repair shop and becoming infuriated when the repair guy just Googled the problem. But did he fix my computer in the end? Yes. They start young too: the kids at rowing are very savvy when it comes to repairs, I don’t even need to tell them what to do, just hand them a tool, or point to what needs doing and they will attempt to do it. If they don’t immediately know how to do it, they will eventually work it out. A lesson for us all.