A day in the life

It’s the end of Week 4 and I’m starting to settle into life in Honiara.

parliament-view

The view from Vivaya Ridge, looking over Parliament

I’m beginning to recognise people in the street, which is nice. I’m getting used to the pace of life and where I can get what I need. I’m getting to know my colleagues and trying to practise my Pidgin.

Debra-Rosemary

Two of my colleagues, Debra and Rosemary, very fetching in their matching overalls

env-girls

The girls from the Environment team – Debra, Wendi and Rosemary.

I’m trying to get used to my hard office chair.

my-desk

My very own piece of real estate at the Ministry

I’m afraid I haven’t got many photos to share with you this time, but I haven’t had my camera and my phone takes crappy photos. So I’ve only included a few snaps (apologies for the dodgy quality), to give you an idea.

So, what is the day-to-day reality for a volunteer in Honiara, I hear you ask?

Well, there are certainly downsides to not having a nice fat salary to live off – complete with monster 4WD vehicle – such as getting around easily and safely at night, staying mud-free as you get yourself to work in the pouring rain, and shopping (there’s no such thing as a one-stop shop here, you have to go all over town to get everything you need).

However there are plenty upsides, such as really being one of the locals – we take the bus together, we walk along the road together, and we shop in the market together. Everyone says “good morning” or “hello” and lots of people have been really helpful.

inside-the-bus

Inside one of the minibuses I take to work every day

road-home

The road home – my walking route

You meet a lot of like-minded people here – those that come to work or live in the Solomon Islands tend to be pretty adventurous, and need to be pretty open-minded and resilient. Life here can be a challenge, the power is unpredictable, the traffic is awful and costs are pretty high.

For those who know me well, you won’t be surprised that one of the big pluses for me is that you can get great coffee and decent ice cream without too much fuss (hello Frangipani ice cream, SBD8 for a double scoop – the equivalent of AUD1.20). Winner!

Frangipani

My ice cream twin James, and our matching scoops – at Frangipani ice cream parlour

Honiara Hot Bread also does a mean cream bun 🙂 Other things I have learned:

  • that the expat social scene here is pretty hectic – there is something on every night for those that are so inclined. One can go to yoga, hash, touch footy, triathlon, aerobics, poker… to name a few;
  • that Friday night drinks is an institution, and that the coconut wireless is very effective (everyone knows everyone and everything – and I’m meeting people I don’t know who have heard about me…);
  • that the bale (second hand) shopping here is awesome – I was fortunate to have some of the other expert shopper volunteers introduce me to the best places and we managed to find some great stuff, all for less than AUD6 a pop;
bale-shopping

Inside one of the Honiara second-hand shops

  • and that the potholes here could house a small family. Mum helpfully suggested to me this week that I could ship my Mazda 6 over to Honiara, thus killing two birds with one stone (I am selling my old car in Australia in order to buy a new car here in Honiara). This photo’s for you mum.

    potholes

    A particularly large couple of potholes on a road near my workplace

Despite my present lack of wheels, luckily there are plenty of other keen divers – with vehicles – so I have been diving every Sunday. So far we have just dived Bonegi I (a local shipwreck) but there are several other good shore dives within a short drive of Honiara so plenty to keep me busy. Watch this space for underwater photos. This photo was taken from the car, on our way back from Visale Beach to dive Bonegi.

dive-trip

The road back from Visale Beach, west of Honiara

This Sunday I am off to Western Province (Ghizo) for 5 days for a meeting. And a work-related dive trip. so you shouldn’t have to wait long for my next post…

Bi hapi evriwan 🙂
L

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