Answers to our Questionnaire for Visitors of Solomon Islands

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Visitor
Sex? male
Profession/occupation? MD, GP in a small hospital
Home country? Switzerland
What made you want to go to Solomon Islands? my previous visit; first visit: reading an article
Arriving in Solomon Islands
When did you arrive in Solomon Islands? October 2004
Did you encounter any bureaucratic difficulties? no
What was your first impression after arrival? no change since my last visit 1.5 years ago
Living in Solomon Islands
What did positively surprise you? the law and order situation, the friendliness of the people, the warm reception by the Ministry of Health
What did negatively surprise you? [-]
What took longest to get used to? the culture that does not allow you to say to someone's face what annoys you
What did you miss most in Solomon Islands? chocolate and biscuits
What should you have brought along? a notebook computer, some antibiotics which are not available in Solomon Islands
What did you do to prevent malaria? repellent, knockdown spray in the house
Place and province where you spent most of your time? Auki, Malaita Province
Other places/provinces where you stayed? [-]
Where did you stay? in a furnished house
How long did you stay at each location? 6 months
How much did you pay for each? the house was provided by Health Services
Where did you usually eat? at home, lunch often at stands in front of the hotel
What did you typically pay for a normal meal? [-]
What local food/beverage did you like most? all vegetables and fruits; as far as possible, we tried to live on local market produce
What local food/beverage did you like least? bread
Working in Solomon Islands
How did you usually go to work? some walking and by bus
Where did you work? Kilu'ufi Hospital
What was your occupation? chief consultant and surgeon
What were your working days and hours? 8:15am to about 5pm
What was particularly difficult in regard to your work? cross-cultural misunderstandings
Did you feel accepted by the locals? yes
What did you usually do in your spare time after work? spending time with my family, reading, writing
Leaving Solomon Islands and looking back
When did you leave Solomon Islands? April 2005
How long was your stay? 6 months
How do you judge the length of your stay? too short
What did you learn from the locals? control yourself and stay polite even if someone annoys you
Your advice to prospective visitors? before you go, talk to someone who spent some time in Solomon Islands, stay open-minded. Solomon Islands does not need do-gooders, they will show you what they expect from you.
What did you miss most when back at home again? the daily work
What did you enjoy most when back at home again? the food and the cooler climate
Would you go back for another stay? Anytime!
Estimated total cost of your stay (including travel costs)? CHF 15,000 (for myself, my wife and two children); the local wage just about covered the cost of living (vaccation not included)
Additional comments? Of several tropical countries I have visited as a doctor so far, Solomon Islands was the most tranquil and the one I liked best.

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