Answers to our Questionnaire for Visitors of Solomon Islands

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Sex? male
Profession/occupation? orthopedic surgeon in training
Home country? Switzerland
What made you want to go to Solomon Islands? talking to a previous visitor
Did you go alone or in company? alone
Arriving in Solomon Islands
When did you arrive in Solomon Islands? September 2006
Did you encounter any bureaucratic difficulties? no, don't even know if they looked at all the papers that I sent in advance...
What was your first impression after arrival? not so humid as everybody wrote
Living in Solomon Islands
What did positively surprise you? they had most basic medical facilities
What did negatively surprise you? Some work attitude. Some of the hospital personnel seem not to think
What took longest to get used to? humidity (increased some days after my arrival)
What did you miss most in Solomon Islands? jogging on a rainy November day along the Limmat
What should you have brought along? pictures from my home, country, town, hospital, university, school, to show the locals
What did you do to prevent malaria? Lariam weekly, and the usual mosquito prevention. No problems at all
Place and province where you spent most of your time? Honiara, Honiara-City
Other places/provinces where you stayed? Western Province holiday trip with afternoon work at Gizo Hospital
Where did you stay? Kiwi-House in Honiara. I was told that they look for a house for me to stay, but they didn't find any and probably weren't looking for... Phoebe's Resthouse in Gizo.
How long did you stay at each location? 5 months in Honiara, one week in Gizo
How much did you pay for each? Honiara: nothing; Gizo: SBD 75/night
Where did you usually eat? dinner: mostly cooking at Kiwi-House with students, for lunch breaks: Yacht Club
What did you typically pay for a normal meal? Yacht Club meal SBD 28, beverage (coke) SBD 8, dinner: meal SBD 45, other places up to SBD 150
What local food/beverage did you like most? kumara (sweet potato), mud crab, coconut crab
What local food/beverage did you like least? coconut
Mobile phone services
If you brought along a mobile phone, which services did you successfully use? voice
Comments? I sometimes used a student's mobile phone. He bought a local SIM card. Good.
Money matters
Used a Swiss Postcard and Maestro debit card to get cash at ATMs
Used a credit card to pay for goods/services.
Comments? There is no need for Travellers Cheques!! Long queue inside the bank!!! In Honiara and Gizo no problem at all to get money at ATMs.
Working in Solomon Islands
How did you usually go to work? walk, from Kiwi-House 2 minutes
Where did you work? NRH, orthopedics
What was your occupation? registrar
What were your working days and hours? 8am till 5pm everyday, mostly longer, when on call at least till 8pm
What was particularly difficult in regard to your work? getting organised, time-consuming discussions
Did you feel accepted by the locals? yes
What did you usually do in your spare time after work? reading, swimming in a hotel pool, play soccer and basketball with the locals
Questions for medical trainees of all levels (students to registrars)
How was the supervision? adequate
Comments -
How was the teaching? adequate
Comments -
Leaving Solomon Islands and looking back
When did you leave Solomon Islands? February 2007
How long was your stay? 5 months
How do you judge the length of your stay? just about right
What did you learn from the locals? to kill and cook mud crabs, to open a coconut properly, to use ketamine for anesthesia
Your advice to prospective visitors? DOCUMENT YOUR PATIENTS FOR YOURSELF ACCURATELY AND COMPLETELY (Excel file to check if you took pictures clinically, intraoperatively, x-ray pre- and postoperative,...)
What did you miss most when back at home again? my girlfriend
What did you enjoy most when back at home again? hot shower
Would you go back for another stay? maybe
Estimated total cost of your stay (including travel costs)? CHF 8,000
Additional comments? -

Possibly unfamiliar terms:
Limmat: river in Zurich, Switzerland

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