|Medical school year or years of
experience since graduation?
|What made you want to go to
||talking to a previous visitor
|Did you go alone or in company?
|Arriving in Solomon
|When did you arrive in Solomon
|Did you encounter any
|What was your first impression
||Very hot!! Otherwise a laid-back atmosphere and generally
people were very friendly.
|Living in Solomon
|What did positively surprise
||In general people are happy and content with their way of
life. Patients were respectful and grateful for
|What did negatively surprise
||medical facilities and lack of treatment options
|What took longest to get used
||Having lots of spare time and not rushing around hospital
all day - I didn't know what to do in my first few
|What did you miss most in
||Food: cereal, meat (that wasn't fish!)... didn't miss not
having a TV, but lack of internet/no phone was hard.
|What should you have brought
||iPod! and a snorkel for all that spare time... the sea is
|What did you do to prevent
||doxycycline, slept under nets, 50% deet (didn't always
work though!) and tried to keep covered but difficult as it's
|Place and province where you
spent most of your time?
||Taro Hospital, Choiseul Province, and went on a cataract
screening tour around clinics on mainland Choiseul
|Other places/provinces where
||Gizo Hospital, Western Province
|Where did you stay?
||Converted TB ward at Taro with one of the nurses, then
Phoebes resthouse (where all the medical students stay!) at
|How long did you stay at each
||2 weeks in Taro and 1 week in Gizo (plus travel
|How much did you pay for
|Where did you usually eat?
||In Taro ate at home - there was nowhere to eat out. In
Gizo sometimes at home, or PT's or the hotel
|What did you typically pay for
a normal meal?
|What local food/beverage did
you like most?
||The fish is great - really fresh. Cheapest and nicest
food is bought at market (in Gizo, Monday best). Be
|What local food/beverage did
you like least?
|If you brought along a mobile
phone, which services did you successfully use?
||Mobiles only work if you have a Solomon Telekom SIM.
Otherwise your phone will be useless.
||I managed to change some AUD to SBD at Brisbane airport.
ATM in Taro didn't work but I managed to get some out in
|Working in Solomon
|How did you usually go to
|Where did you work?
||Hospital and in clinics around Choiseul mainland
|What was your occupation?
||medical student - mostly observation
|What were your working days and
|What was particularly difficult
in regard to your work?
||Learn some pidjin before you get here. I could understand
it but couldn't speak it which made history and examination
|Did you feel accepted by the
|What did you usually do in your
spare time after work?
||Market, swim, canoe, volleyball, read, cards... in Gizo
also dived and went to Fat Boys or the hotel for a
for medical trainees of all levels (students to
|How was the supervision?
||At Taro pretty much left to do what I wanted but everyone
was helpful if I asked.
|How was the teaching?
||Poor elective destination for medical experience in terms
of knowledge and skill development but amazing life
|Leaving Solomon Islands and
|When did you leave Solomon
|How long was your stay?
||approx. 4 weeks
|How do you judge the length of
||just about right
|What did you learn from the
|Your advice to prospective
||Be adventurous and try and visit smaller islands such as
Taro and not just Honiara or Gizo... it's a completely
different experience. Go diving - best place I have dived
including Barrier Reef and Egypt.
|What did you miss most when
back at home again?
||Relaxed way of life and community spirit. Patients there
are also really grateful for treatment... not like some in
|What did you enjoy most when
back at home again?
||The food and feeling properly clean! And my bed =D
|Would you go back for another
|Estimated total cost of your
stay (including travel costs)?
||around GBP 1,000 just on flights! Quite cheap when there
||I recommend Solomons as a place to visit. Taro was very
basic and a real eye-opener: I ate, lived, worked and played
(volleyball!) with the locals which was brilliant. They rely
on water tanks for all their water - do not expect a hot
shower either in Taro or Gizo... and in Taro expect a bucket!
The water may run out if there hasn't been any rain, which
happened in Gizo and showers/flushing loo was difficult... A
loo is a luxury in Taro by the way - if you are lucky there
may be a shedded-pit otherwise it's a bush or the beach.
Electricity in Taro is produced by generators which only work
during certain hours. By 7pm I would be sitting in the dark
waiting for the generator to come on! Some houses don't have
any electricity. In Gizo because of expats, RAMSIs and more
tourists there was little mixing with the locals but there is
a good atmosphere and more things to do such as eating
out/bars/diving etc. And there was internet!! Both Taro and
Gizo offers a medical experience totally different to UK. I
have never seen a spider crawling across a surgeon's hand
during an operation before! And scrub-dresses and shorts
(with flip-flops or bare feet!) is new for me too! Nursing
staff have more responsiblity here and there are few doctors.
Medical staff do not rely on investigations and I found the
available treatments shocking... someone in UK who would be
on a strong opiate would be managed with parecetamol or
aspirin, if anything. All in all if you want an amazing life
experience definitely consider coming to the Solomons for
your elective, especially if you like diving. If you are more
adventurous Taro is brilliant, if you want to meet students
from other medical schools and can't quite let go of the
Western world then Gizo or Honiara would suit you