Kate and Asim's Solomon Adventure

From the North Atlantic ... To the South Pacific! - Kate and Asim in the Solomon Islands!

July Holiday – escape from school!




We went to Honira for the
June break to purchase the last of the library materials thanks to Gill and
Kevin (our predecessors from New
Zealand) who found the funds to complete the


When term had ended,
despite being truly exhausted we set ourselves the task of getting all of the
books out of there boxes and into relevant sections on the newly completed shelves.
In this way Fred cold have plenty of room for building the counter, tables and
chairs whilst we were away. This might sound like a fairly simple job but we
were really flagging in the last few days of this and we decided that we HAD to
get on the next plane to Honiara.



We were not booked onto Saturdays plane so Friday
morning we emailed our friend Paul who works for RAMSI and asked him if they
would be passing and could pick us up so
we could reserve our place. We went back home, packed and waited. All of the
food in the house had run out and we were onto our last cup of rice and tin of
tuna, We waited and waited and by 10pm we concluded that he was not coming and
that we would have to think of a plan B to get to Honiara – probably the 12 hour ship due on

The next morning there was a knock at the
door form a fellow teacher who told us that the school boat was leaving and
that if we wanted to catch the plane we should take the boat, so we did; we
decided to chance getting a seat. The boats engine was already running so we
just had to pull on our clothes and get out the door. Half way to Kira Kira we
realised that we had left all our money at home. We had our bank card so we
would be fine in Honiara
– but it was a Saturday and all the banks would be closed. We didn’t have a plane ticket nor any money
to purchase one. Asim started to lose his temper with me and I could hear him
calling me this and that to the other people on the boat, meanwhile my mind started
being slightly more productive! and started racing as to how we were going to
get the money to board the plane. I felt awful about doing it but first up
asked everyone on the boat – but of course
no one had that amount of money on them so once we got to Kira Kira I
headed straight for the Diocese office to see if they could lend it to us but
it was closed. I asked around for he manager but he had gone away for the
weekend. Asim went to see Paul but he had gone out towards Pamua to pick us up!
OH OH OH NO! Then my friend Anna said “you called always ask the Wako shop”. Why
had I not though of it, Anna was a
ctually joking but I knew this was our only
hope. The “Wako” shop as everyone calls it is the main shop that people use and
is run by some Chinese people they suffer quite a lot of racism from the locals
and I have on several occasions intervened when I have heard rude or
inappropriate comments.

So Asim went over to ask them and while
they originally wanted a cheque, once I got there the lovely man simply handed
over the money. He didn’t even write a receipt or anything, Money in hand we
now just had to get to the airport. This was another obstacle as we had no
transport. Again someone suggested we try the Police. So we went to the police
station and while I was beating round the bush for a little while, Asim came
out and asked them directly. We all piled in and headed straight for the agent.
The plane was fully booked. Just then Paul turned up from Pamua so we went back
to Fresh Winds with him for a coffee. We would come back half an hour before
the plane was to take off and see if everyone had turned up for there flight,
We had come this far – we HAD to get on it.

After coffee we went to the kaikai house
and had our first meal in …many! hours, We also bought some provisions in case
of having to return to Pamau, then Paul took us back to the airport and we
stood in the queue. There was one space free- we knew that because we had
bumped into one of the passengers – an ex-teacher from Pamua called ‘Thursday’
– he had told us that he was going to go on next weeks plane.

There one space free as Thursday is not
boarding” I said.

“OK and one of you will follow next week?”
Was her reply.

“No” I said “we are both small – please, please, please!” I pleaded.

Somehow she said OK and checked us both in.
She asked us for the fee, I opened my purse to pay and then I am sure my heart
missed a beat if not several. We had spent some of the fee on food!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I pretended I had not realised this and started
counting out the dollars. We were 200 short and I felt like the biggest plonker
in the world. Various people had been observing our shanigans since morning and
this was just frankly embarrassing. But slowly slowly people started to reach
into their pockets. Here you go, I’ll lend you 50, another 100 here etc…. and thanks
to these amazing people we boarded the plane to the big bad H! Oh only in the
wonderful Solomons!


For the first week we stayed with our
friends Will and Fiona who we met at Christmas. Whilst there we took advantage of all
the creature comforts that the big city provides. We went out for lots of meals
and of course made lots of opportunities to swim at the 'Honiara Hotel' as well
as taking to the local nightclub dance floors. They were great hosts and it was
a much needed dose of fun. Will is from Tufnell
Park – just up the road from us in Finsbury Park – and it was great to stay with a
real London Wontok. He is working at the Central Bank and helped Asim preparing
for his Economics and Business Studies classes with a tour of the bank. Fiona
is working for the SI Foreign Office and a well known face in Honiara. Her knowledge of the local scene and politics was really good and they both made us feel right at home.


l-r: Julia, Will, Ken, Fiona, Kate, Julian Treadaway, Darcy, Asim and Trish

We then moved to stay with Aunty Trish and
Uncle Darcy. Trish is the literacy advisor for COM who had come and stayed with
us whilst she was doing some work at Pamua and we had hit it off straight away.
Darcy other wise known as Marlin Brando is
equally wonderful and we were made to feel very at home at theirs and had lots of riveting

Term was due to start on 14th
July and so Asim got on the Cristie-Leigh for the 12 hour ship journey to Pamua,
along with students and staff.

I stayed on to await the arrival of Mum on
the 17th July!


Mum arriving in the Solomons!!!

A very proud and emotional moment- she
adapted so well and so quickly! After a quick tour of Honiara and a cool drink at the Raintree
Pizzeria we ate fresh Snapper and sweet Potato at Trish’s and then had an early
night. I had booked us into a resort called Maravagi for two days, so that is
where we headed the next morning and although too short it was just what we
needed to catch up and acclimatise.


Back at Pamua we dived back straight into
school life. We celebrated my birthday in the first few days back. We went to
my favourite desert island ‘Mauraha’, we ate fresh prawns caught my Christobel’s
brother, cooked by Fred and Asim in garlic!! with and rice. We had balloons, Guinness
(found in Honiara!)
!!! a fire and shelter built by Fred to protect us from the storm that erupted
and then in true style got stranded!!!! We were of course picked up once the
storm subsided and this was definitely one of the best birthdays I have had! Of
course I missed my friends but mum had brought cards and presents from Lizzi,
Kate, Joe and Paolo so that just made it perfect!

The SINTA teachers strike (see separate page) that had been on
since the beginning of term was lifted- we got back to work and mum was an
amazing guest and helped with marking, the library and cooking us delicious
meals when we got home! We experienced our first Solomon Island
funeral together whilst she was here, a birthday party for baby Joy and the
time just flew by. Trish and Darcy came for the last weekend and it was nearly
all over. They came ladled with fine foods and we spent the last weekend eating
like kings in between our daily outings.

On Saturday we went back to the island and
it was as wonderful as ever


On Sunday we went to Wayhouru river and Mum
tackled her fear of the water in the fresh, clean green beautiful river with
Darcy and Trish as her personal instructors.



On Monday it was time to leave. There plane
was at 2:30pm but we left Pamau at 10:30am so we would have plenty of time to
find a ride to the airport and get something to eat at the Kiakia house. As
soon as we got there we dumped the luggage at the police station and made our
way to Fresh Winds were RAMSI reside to ask them if they could give us a lift.

As soon as we got there 'Ned Kelly' our local RAMSI man (with a very dry sense of humour as you can tell from his nick-name) said

“Oh hello, the planes already left” and
everyone had a good old chuckle.

I knew he was not joking and said “What do
you mean ?!”

“First time in 11 weeks he said – its
landed an hour ago”

(the turn around is ALWAYS immediate).Oh
great! plane adventure no 2 at Kira Kira I thought, only this time it was all the more serious
because Mums flight for England
was the next day!

“Lets get down there and check” I said.
But, we couldn’t, someone had taken his truck to the river for a wash and had
not returned yet. To cut another very long stort short we got to the airport as
the plane was taking off but persuaded them to wait e for us to get there
luggage and bored! Mum and I didn’t have time to have an emotional goodbye.
Probably just as well.

Original skin design by Tristan NITOT.