Sunshine and Rainfall:The
climate of the Maldives is warm year round, as determined by
the monsoons. However, being on the equator, the monsoons are
mild and not as well-defined as in neighbouring countries. Of
the two monsoons, the southwest monsoon from May to October
brings some rain and wind. The northeast monsoon, from
November to April, is the dry season, with very little wind.
The temperature varies little, with an annual average daily
maximum of 30.4 degrees Celsius and a minimum of 25.9 degrees
Celsius. The annual rainfall stood at just over 1,900
millimetres in 1996. In the same year, the country had over
2,800 hours of sunshine, an average of about 8 hrs a day.
270.000 people live in the Maldives, 1/3 of them in the
capital Malé. There are about 20,000 expatriate workers,
mainly Sri Lankans, but also Europeans and Indians employed in
the tourism and education sector.
are of the Indo-Aryan race with Arabic, African influences due
to their geographical location.
of the population is under 15 years, an astonishing number,
but easy to believe when one walks down the main road in Malé.
Just before the beginning of school thousands of children in
white school uniforms swarm the streets eager to go to school.
are friendly, hospitable and peace loving people, at the same
time reserved and in control of their
language of the Maldives is Dhivehi and displays great
resemblance to several other languages from Sri Lanka, South
East Asia and North India. It also contains many Arabic, Hindi
and English words.
Historically speaking, the early people spoke “Elu”, a
form of ancient Sinhalese. The language has undergone many
transformations, and the present-day Dhivehi is written from
left to right, probably to incorporate many of the Arabic
words used. Modern ‘Thaana’ script was invented in the 16th
century, following the overthrow of the Portuguese. The
earliest Dhivehi is inscribed on copper plates known as the
“Loamaafaanu”. The script is written with consonants in the
middle, and vowels either on top or below the letters,
depending on the sound.
used equivocally in the administration of the country. Until
the 1960s, Dhivehi was also the medium of instruction in all
schools, but with the need for further education,
Dhivehi-medium syllabuses have given way, to a large extent,
to English-medium teaching. For this reason, English is widely
understood, spoken and written by the