A Real Pounding
While walking around Male we heard the ear-splitting sound of steel poles being pounded into the hard coral that this island is built on. The coral is cracked and believed to be sinking under the weight of 130,000 people crammed into about a square mile of space. So what do they do? Pound steel girders into it to weaken the foundation even more! This particular project is for a 16-story office building and involves 250 girders. I couldn’t take a picture because the construction is behind a screen so you can’t see it.But there’s no way to hide the noise or the shaking.
The neighbors of the project include a school, the India high commissioner’s office and the beautiful home of the family that is descended from a former Maldives president. Heena, Fatima and I went there to show what it is like to live next door to the constant pounding. We could see cracks in the walls and even with the camera on a tripod, the constant shaking made it look like we were in a series of earthquakes. Heena did a good standup on the shaky ground.
The story is that the environmental minister hired an outside expert who recommended stopping the project and the construction minister allows it to go on anyway because the two ministries don’t talk to each other. The local city officials wouldn’t comment unless we sent them a list of questions in advance. Duh! I think they know what we are going to ask about.
Unfortunately, the story missed its slot and sent the whole 8 pm news down in flames, so we had a little talk about the meaning of “make your slot or rot.” However, when it did air, it got a reaction.
Update: The neighbor of the project turns out to be the Chief of Protocol at the Foreign Ministry. He’s the man behind the camera crew in the above picture and has his hand on the wall that divides the house from the girder pounding machine, about six feet away on the other side.
This is one of the few places where we saw any pets besides fish. The place was crawling with at least a dozen happy cats. Heena and Fatima were clearly afraid of them.