This afternoon: talking to the author of a report on the etymology of the name Mulah.
Mulah (Dhivehi: މުލައް) is an island in Meemu atoll, which we visited briefly last year, when we were based for a time on a neighbouring island.
Mulah’s full name is Boli Mulah, and Boli is the cowrie shell, so of course we were intrigued. Of the nine places with names that relate to cowries, only Mulah is an inhabited island and therefore relatively easy to visit. And ibn Battuta allegedly went there, too. Thus, last week Annalisa and Shehe returned to Mulah for a few more interviews with cowrie collectors and coir producers.
They learnt much while they were there, and were also pointed to an informant now in Malé who wrote a study of the origin of the name Mulah. He told us that the island became famous as the place for cowries because it had the right habitat for them.
Also today we went to the National Museum and carried out an inventory of our gear, after which Annalisa, David (our lucky student volunteer of the season) and I went to eat hummus and shawarma in what is billed as Malé’s first Arabic restaurant.