Answers to our Questionnaire for Visitors of Solomon Islands

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Sex? male
Profession/occupation? Medical Student
Medical school year or years of experience since graduation? 6
Home country? Switzerland
What made you want to go to Solomon Islands? reading an article
Did you go alone or in company? in company
Arriving in Solomon Islands
When did you arrive in Solomon Islands? September 2009
Did you encounter any bureaucratic difficulties? yes, duration of the visa issued at the airport was too short, but no problem to extend. So, check!
What was your first impression after arrival? -
Living in Solomon Islands
What did positively surprise you? Hospitality, friendliness + "positiveness" of the local people
What did negatively surprise you? very high prices for certain imported products + coffee (if available at all...)
What took longest to get used to? the humid heat (...on certain days...)
What did you miss most in Solomon Islands? my kitchen and its equipment... :)
What should you have brought along? more ballpens...
What did you do to prevent malaria? Malarone
Place and province where you spent most of your time? Honiara, Honiara-City
Other places/provinces where you stayed? -
Where did you stay? Kiwi-House
How long did you stay at each location? 10 weeks
How much did you pay for each? SBD 200 total
Where did you usually eat? home, KFC (Kukum Fried Chicken - food stalls close to Kiwi-House)
What did you typically pay for a normal meal? SBD 2 (noodle soup), 7-10 (canned tuna), 35 (KFC), 50 - 200 (restaurant)
What local food/beverage did you like most? fresh fish (king fish, tuna), fresh vegetables + fruits
What local food/beverage did you like least? -
Mobile phone services
If you brought along a mobile phone, which services did you successfully use? -
Comments? No roaming. Local prepaid SIM cards not reliable due to network overload. SMS to other countries works not reliable either.
Money matters
Used Travel Cash Card in CHF to get cash at ATMs
Used Visa credit card to pay for goods/services
Comments? check "ATM Locator" of ANZ Bank
Working in Solomon Islands
How did you usually go to work? walk
Where did you work? NRH, Surgery
What was your occupation? assistance in OT, some admissions, take part in ward rounds
What were your working days and hours? 5/7, 0745 - (1200/1700)
What was particularly difficult in regard to your work? knowledge acquired in Switzerland not always useful (e.g. way less or no medication for treatment)
Did you feel accepted by the locals? yes
What did you usually do in your spare time after work? cooking, playing games, talking with other students. Discovering nature (Savo, Mataniko, Florida Islands) on weekends.
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? December 2009
How long was your stay? 10 weeks
How do you judge the length of your stay? too short
What did you learn from the locals? Maybe another way to solve problems. Not to follow an algorithm, but achieving a goal with limited resources. To open my mind for other solutions.
Your advice to prospective visitors? Learn pijin. There's a phrasebook of Lonely Planet helping you to get into it. It opens many doors (which i realized too late).
What did you miss most when back at home again? not at home yet... :)
What did you enjoy most when back at home again? -
Would you go back for another stay? yes
Estimated total cost of your stay (including travel costs)? CHF 3,000 (flights to and from Honiara excl.)
Additional comments? Make sure that you ask for everything you want to do/see/know/have, especially in the hospital. It will virtually always be granted, but seldom offered.

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