Answers to our Questionnaire for Visitors of Solomon Islands

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Sex? male
Profession/occupation? Medical Student
Home country? Switzerland
What made you want to go to Solomon Islands? Talking to Dr Oberli
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? yes, visa was only issued for one instead of three months
What was your first impression after arrival? It was hot, humid, there was no one to pick me up, the sign saying: Beware of SARS
Living in Solomon Islands
What did positively surprise you? People in general. The lovely smiles on the streets.
What did negatively surprise you? The behaviour of the locals when drinking.
What took longest to get used to? The heat
What did you miss most in Solomon Islands? A magazine or a real newspaper
What should you have brought along? Spices for the Kiwi-House kitchen
What did you do to prevent malaria? Lariam once a week
Place and province where you spent most of your time? Honiara, Honiara-City
Other places/provinces where you stayed? Gizo, Western Province
Where did you stay? Kiwi-House / Phoebe's Resthouse
How long did you stay at each location? 10 weeks Kiwi-House / 3 weeks Phoebe's
How much did you pay for each? SBD 150 per month in Kiwi-House / SBD 65 for Phoebe's per night
Where did you usually eat? Cooked ourselves. Chinese in town. Yacht Club. La Masa in Gizo
What did you typically pay for a normal meal? Depends due to wide range. Everything from SBD 6 for a roti to SBD 30 at the PCYC [Yacht Club].
What local food/beverage did you like most? Fern Salad
What local food/beverage did you like least? nothing
Mobile phone services
If you brought along a mobile phone, which services did you successfully use? voice
Comments? SIM card from Solomon Telekom: SBD 18 / minute for overseas calls. No charge for receiving calls.
Money matters
Used American Express Travelers Cheques in US$ to get cash.
Used Maestro debit card to get cash at ATMs.
Used MasterCard credit card to get cash at ATMs and pay for goods/services.
Comments? -
Working in Solomon Islands
How did you usually go to work? walk
Where did you work? NRH, General Surgery
What was your occupation? Being part of the team. Helping to get things done.
What were your working days and hours? Monday - Friday / Saturday : 7.45am to anything between 2 and 5pm
What was particularly difficult in regard to your work? Understanding Pijin
Did you feel accepted by the locals? yes
What did you usually do in your spare time after work? Read, go to the pool, cook, go out...
Questions for medical trainees of all levels (students to registrars)
How was the supervision? adequate
Comments -
How was the teaching? adequate
Comments Very variable. Stick to the consultants!
Leaving Solomon Islands and looking back
When did you leave Solomon Islands? January 2007
How long was your stay? 3 months
How do you judge the length of your stay? just about right
What did you learn from the locals? How to cook local food and to keep up that smile :-)
Your advice to prospective visitors? Learn Pijin even if your mother tongue is English!
What did you miss most when back at home again? The warmth of land and people
What did you enjoy most when back at home again? Cleanliness / TV
Would you go back for another stay? Anytime!
Estimated total cost of your stay (including travel costs)? CHF 7,000
Additional comments? Make sure you stay at one of the hospitals for a longer time! You will have a wonderful experience if you are not just one of the "visiting students" who leave shortly after they have arrived! You'll be amazed at what you are able to do after a certain amount of time! Try it :-)

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