Happy New Year 2022!

Wow, another year has passed, just like that! And we are still in the Covid-19 pandemic, 2 years on with no end in sight.

With the release of the vaccines, most of us, including me, thought that Covid-19 would be a thing of the past by the end of the year. In fact, I got my 2 doses of the Covishield vaccine early in the year in February and April before the Maldives ran out of vaccines after India put restrictions on vaccine exports in response to their unprecedented 2nd wave of Covid-19. Maldives too went into a 2nd lockdown at the end of Ramadan, having to celebrate another Eid stuck at home. During the surge, Maldives at one point had the highest number of daily Covid-19 cases per capita across the whole world!

With the 2nd lockdown, at Javaabu we also once again had to switch to working from home. This time around I was fortunate enough to have a good work from home setup set up in my bedroom before the lockdown started. The lockdown period was a stressful time for us due to our odd working hours at home. This time around too, during the worst of the surge, we were able to assist the government by building a Medical Oxygen Supply tracking software for the government’s primary gas supplier to better manage the country’s oxygen supply as the demand for oxygen was going through the roof at the Covid facilities. We called this project “Operation Neyvaa” and had it delivered in just a few days. I would like to think that Javaabu had a role in literally keeping the country breathing this year, hehe.

Talking of exciting projects by Javaabu, Alhamdhlillaahi, 2021 was a very productive year for us. Early in the year, the online course platform we developed for LGA, Kiyeveni.mv was officially launched. Around the same time, the upgraded government job portal, JobCenter.mv was launched as well. Some of the government websites we delivered this year include planning.gov.mv and hrcm.org.mv. We had delivered some other major systems as well that are yet to be released.

After the lockdown ended, we returned to working from office on July 1st to a brand new and a much bigger officer. We also had 4 new members joining our team as well this year. Overall, Javaabu had grown exponentially in 2021 and our workflow had become much more streamlined and efficient. The rest of the team had become much more independent and productive, with even some sub teams being formed for some projects.

Politically, 2021 had been a whirlwind year for Maldives. In May, there was a bomb attack against the former President and Speaker of the Majlis, Mohamed Nasheed which caused him severe injuries and had him flying to Germany and the U.K for extended medical treatment. Right before that, the ruling party, MDP was defeated in major constituencies by the opposition PPM during the 2021 Maldives Local Council Elections. The opposition was handed another victory later in the year as well, with the overturning of their leader, former President Yameen‘s, 5 year money laundering sentence by the Supreme Court of the Maldives. With his release, the opposition’s “India Out” campaign, which is calling for the removal of Indian military presence from Maldives, had also intensified. With a much more active opposition, it looks like the next year is going to be politically much more tougher for the current government.

While 2021 might not have been so good for the current government, Alhamdhlillaahi, personally for me and my family it had been a really successful year. Both my mom and dad, as well as my uncle and grandfather were awarded the National Award for Public Service for their long term service to the nation. And for me, in October I was awarded the National Youth Award in the area of Economy and Entrepreneurship for the work I had done at Javaabu. I was profiled in one of the local online news sites as well as by my alma mater, University of Nottingham. I also had the opportunity to give a talk to a group of youth at a workshop organized by the Ministry of Youth as well as being a panelist at an online masterclass conducted by Asian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA). Moreover, I got the chance to do several TV appearances on some local TV channels regarding some of the work conducted by Javaabu and Javaabu Academy. Talking of Javaabu Academy, in 2021, I finally started conducting some courses myself, namely a course on CorelDRAW and another one on WordPress. This was a really rewarding experience, as I was able to connect with students from all over the Maldives. who were keen to learn what I had to teach.

In terms of travel, since the pandemic started, I was finally able to fly back to my island for Al’haa Eid after the government eased travel restrictions. Since a new airport had opened just 15-20 minutes away from our island, this time around, the journey was really comfortable compared to years prior. I was able to spend 3 weeks in my island and flew my Mavic 2 extensively through out my stay. Most interesting event during my trip was that a 100 year old shipwreck at one of the nearby uninhabited islands had mysteriously disappeared after a recent storm. I took two trips to the island to scout the area using my drone to look for the missing shipwreck. My first attempt turned out unsuccessful without any definitive sightings. However, I was able to find it on the 2nd trip, and turns out the whole structure had toppled over into the sea.

In October, I took a 3 day trip to Sri Lanka accompanying my Mum on her trip to stay with my sister during her college final exams. This was my first international trip since 2019 and travel had changed a lot since then. For this trip I had to take 3 Covid-19 PCR tests within just 1 week. Right after my Lanka trip, I flew to Kulhudhuhfushi City on the following day to attend the Youth Day events where I received the aforementioned National Youth Award. I wasn’t lucky enough to see any flamingos at the local mangrove who had been flocking there just a few days before my trip.

Enough of 2021, let’s talk about 2022 and take a moment to enjoy my New Year’s Eve tradition of light painting. This year I was lucky enough to have my friends around to help me out and we took a ride down to the tourist island in Hulhumale’ Phase 2 for my annual photo. This time around, the back drop of the photo is the newly inhabited Hiyaa Flats, which seems appropriate for an occasion commemorating new beginnings. A special thanks goes out to my friends Shamin, Urey, Rishwan, Afrah, Hamko, Muaviyath and Saleena for helping me out with taking the photo. You can download the full resolution image from my Flickr.

Last year I made a resolution to publish at least 1 blog post each month and 1 photo each week. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to hold onto this goal as I was able to post just a handful of photos the whole year, and wasn’t able to publish any blog posts. I want to attempt this challenge again this year. Let’s see if I can hold myself to this goal in 2022. Anyway, hope you like my photo, and wish your 2022 would be much better than your 2021! I leave you with a group photo of all my friends who helped me take this year’s annual photo. Cheers.

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