I hastily checked for weather alerts as I made my way to the ferry terminal, heading to work as usual. The clouds were rolling in, and the wind began to seem unforgiving. But there was no alert whatsoever, I’m safe, or so I thought. The moment I boarded the ferry, I knew I would have to cling onto dear life yet again, the sea was angry and fierce like I had never seen it before. Halfway through – after what seemed like an eternity of stopping the ferry due to the waves, a surge of water inside the ferry through the closed windows made fear creep into my heart. Will I make it safely this time? That’s the scariest bit, when the ferry swings nearer to the raging waves in the sea, you never know whether you would make it or not. All you can do is hold onto the edge of the seats to keep yourself from flying all the way across, and to pray that you reach your destination safely. And I do not want to keep experiencing that anymore, because I have seen an alternative. And believe me when I say, it is way better than nearly dying every rainy day.
Ever since the announcement of the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, the Maldivian society seems to have been divided into two groups; one that claims that the country ‘does not’ need a bridge and one that actively supports the idea of it. In all honesty, there are pros and cons to everything, but in this case I think the pros weigh more – after all what could be more valuable than human life?
If you are wondering what I might be talking about, here’s a little explanation: several thousands of people travel daily between Male’ and Hulhumale’, whether the sun is shining or the winds are raging. We brave the rough seas to reach work, to proceed with our daily routines – and those who do, know how it feels like coming face to face to with life-threatening experiences, especially when they travel during a rough season. Ferries nearly capsize, if they don’t then they surely leave a horrific memory in mind.
While we are at it, let’s also not forget about how ferries get cancelled during the roughest of times, and how thousands get stranded in the capital after a hard day’s work, without anywhere to go for a rest. I have lost count of the number of times this has happened to me; and sitting or standing in the terminal for hours – sometimes three to four at minimum – is in no way appealing to a man who has worked his mind off that day.
All hope seemed to have abandoned those of us who had to go through such experiences, until the commencement of the bridge work – which has now given us dreams of a time where we would be able to go back home on rough days, in the safety of a car or public transport from the bridge which would connect Male’, Hulhule’ and Hulhumale’. Atlas, our mothers would be able to sleep without being worried sick about her son or daughter having to travel during a rough sea, and we would have the comfort of being calm and feeling relaxed rather than being on the edge of our seats during our commute back home.
This is just one example of the many merits of the bridge that we as citizens of the capital region will get to experience. I for one am elated that the bridge is finally happening, because then I can tell my elderly mother to calm down when the weather is bad, and that I would be traveling by the bridge to Male’ and back. I would be free from consciously having to choose the safety of my life or going in to work on such days, and I could not be any gladder that it would be all over with the completion of the bridge – which is already progressing at an amazingly fast pace. Good days are indeed ahead, friends!