Answers to our Questionnaire for Visitors of Solomon Islands

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Visitor
Sex? male
Profession/occupation? medical student
Home country? UK
What made you want to go to Solomon Islands? reading an article
Arriving in Solomon Islands
When did you arrive in Solomon Islands? September 2003
Did you encounter any bureaucratic difficulties? no
What was your first impression after arrival? Poorer than expected. EXTREMELY humid!
Living in Solomon Islands
What did positively surprise you? Cleanliness and pride in homes and gardens. Affection towards children.
What did negatively surprise you? [-]
What took longest to get used to? Questions being answered by the flick of an eyebrow.
What did you miss most in Solomon Islands? Being so relaxed.
What should you have brought along? Umbrella - but easy to buy there. It does rain...a lot.
What did you do to prevent malaria? Mefloquine
Place and province where you spent most of your time? Gizo, Western Province
Where did you stay? Phoebe's Guesthouse
How long did you stay at each location? 2 months
How much did you pay for each? SBD 45
Where did you usually eat? Cooked for myself (and other guests) on a voluntary rota.
What did you typically pay for a normal meal? SBD 30 (for 4 people, every 4th night)
What local food/beverage did you like most? Fresh tuna and pineapple.
What local food/beverage did you like least? SB [SolBrew beer]
Working in Solomon Islands
How did you usually go to work? walk
Where did you work? Gizo Hospital (mostly female/maternity)
What was your occupation? Student doctor
What were your working days and hours? 8:30am - 5pm (with generous lunch breaks)
What was particularly difficult in regard to your work? Accepting that routine treatments were unavailable and not feeling bad about it.
Did you feel accepted by the locals? yes
What did you usually do in your spare time after work? Read, chat, go diving.
Leaving Solomon Islands and looking back
When did you leave Solomon Islands? October 2003
How long was your stay? 8 weeks
How do you judge the length of your stay? too short
What did you learn from the locals? A lot.
Your advice to prospective visitors? Get stuck in and talk to people.
What did you miss most when back at home again? The sun and the views.
What did you enjoy most when back at home again? Clothes not going mouldy!
Would you go back for another stay? Anytime!
Estimated total cost of your stay (including travel costs)? EUR 3,200
Additional comments? A wonderful place. Talk to people, you'll pick up basic Pidgin easily. They're very friendly. Try and visit other villages and islands - they are all very different. The diving is fantastic. I had a lot of responsibility in the hospital and was treated as a doctor and was frequently the only 'doctor' there. Alarming at first, but faced with 20 people in out-patients, alone, you have to get used to it quickly. Got to perform operations - tubal ligations, lipoma removal. I also got to deliver babies and was had to do ward rounds by myself. The doctors and nurses were very friendly and helpful when I didn't know what was wrong with a patient or needed help with translation. Phoebe's guesthouse has the best views in the world. Gizo (and the hospital) are very relaxed - dresscode was T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops. In summary, a fantastic friendly place with a lot of responsibility.

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