Answers to our Questionnaire for Visitors of Solomon Islands

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Visitor
Sex? male
Profession/occupation? medical student
Home country? Australia
What made you want to go to Solomon Islands? reading an article
Arriving in Solomon Islands
When did you arrive in Solomon Islands? November 2005
Did you encounter any bureaucratic difficulties? no
What was your first impression after arrival? Airport is nice and casual. Honiara is very hot and dusty.
Living in Solomon Islands
What did positively surprise you? How happy and generally friendly people are. Everyone will say hello and chat.
What did negatively surprise you? Lack of national pride for Solomon Islands, although local pride is strong.
What took longest to get used to? Solomon Time. It is not a time scale, it is a philosophy.
What did you miss most in Solomon Islands? book shops
What should you have brought along? a transistor radio
What did you do to prevent malaria? Doxy 100mg/day + mosquito net + religious repellent use
Place and province where you spent most of your time? Kirakira, Makira-Ulawa
Other places/provinces where you stayed? Honiara, Honiara-City
Where did you stay? Kiwi House - Honiara; Freshwind guest house - Kirakira; Starbeach Guest house - Starbeach
How long did you stay at each location? Kiwi - 2 weeks; Freshwind Kirakira - 3 weeks
How much did you pay for each? Kiwi approx. SBD 25/night. Freshwind SBD 85/night
Where did you usually eat? At home. Food is so fresh - why eat out!
What did you typically pay for a normal meal? SBD 10
What local food/beverage did you like most? Makira soupsoup - can't believe bananas can taste so good.
What local food/beverage did you like least? 6 month pudding. Never tried it as the idea repelled me.
Mobile phone services
Comments? SIM card must be bought from Solomon Telekom. Rates are outrageous! Competion is needed.
Money matters
What did you use to get cash at banks and/or automatic teller machines (ATMs)? Have you been able to make cashless payments for certain goods/services?
Travellers Cheques in AUD issued by ANZ to get cash
Debit/Bank Card issued by St. George (Visa debit) to get cash, cash at ATMs, and to pay for goods/services
Credit Card issued by Visa to get cash at ATMs
Comments? Honiara is plastic friendly. Provinces are not.
Working in Solomon Islands
How did you usually go to work? walk and by bus
Where did you work? NRH - A&E+GOPD. Kirakira- everywhere
What was your occupation? medical student
What were your working days and hours? 8am - 2pm, then returned for night shifts (more action then)
What was particularly difficult in regard to your work? Adjusting to different cultural models of sickness and disease.
Did you feel accepted by the locals? yes
What did you usually do in your spare time after work? Read books, hang with new friends etc
Leaving Solomon Islands and looking back
When did you leave Solomon Islands? December 2005
How long was your stay? 1.5 months
How do you judge the length of your stay? just about right
What did you learn from the locals? Humans just want to be happy. The things we think are important vary.
Your advice to prospective visitors? Bring a radio. Get involved, go to church, watch soccer etc.
What did you miss most when back at home again? Uninhibited friendliness of Solomon Islanders.
What did you enjoy most when back at home again? music
Would you go back for another stay? yes
Estimated total cost of your stay (including travel costs)? AUD 2,200
Additional comments? I loved my time in the Solomon Islands. I feel it has certainly given me an altered outlook on the world and has stimulated me to reassess some of the things I feel I require to be a happy person. It also illustrated how fundamentally similar humans are. Despite living in vastly different conditions with different expectations of longevity and quality of life, most people want simply to be happy and co-exist with their neighbours in peace. Coming to the Solomon Islands and getting involved is a life changing experience, it has certainly made me think a lot about my future.

Possibly unfamiliar acronyms:
A&E+GOPD: Accidents and Emergencies and General Out Patient Department

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