After hearing numerous criticisms over the past few months about Dhuvaafaru, I went to the inauguration ceremony on Monday, pen in hand, prepared to bombard the pages of my pad with corrosive words about what a disaster the project had been.
As the seaplane circled above the island, the rows of utilitarian houses did nothing to dispel my scepticism, so far away were they from my vision of a home.
How wrong I was.
The inauguration of Dhuvaafaru was unexpectedly touching and my cynicism soon gave way to an enduring optimism. From the play that re-enacted their tsunami experience to the banquet islanders had prepared, the spirit of warmth and gratitude that filled the air was one of real sincerity.
Wearing an International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) hat, islanders bounded up to me to shake my hand and thank me for their new home. Having played no part in the reconstruction efforts of the IFRC I felt like a fraud…a proud fraud.