Sunday, 5 September 2010

last few days in honiara

After having spent time in Gizo, going back to dusty honiara was a bit of a let down....but we managed to make the most of our last 3 days and we didnt have to bucket shower once in kiwi house the whole 3 days becasue we masde good use of the british high commissioners house and showers! : )

We spent a final few days in NRH A&E dept and had a couple of afternoons at tehy pool (obviously!). Did a bit of souvenir shopping...there isnt much in honiara, but i managed to find a couple of hidden delights!

The main excitement of our last days was our leaving dinner at the british high commissioners house! He invited us there and we had a 3 course meal made by Nelson (his butler). We were being individually waited on. I actually felt a little was weird! I tried beef wellington for the first time...yum : ) tehre was british emblem stuff all over the cutlery, the place name labels, EVERYTHING!! so surreal, but very kind of him!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

coconuts keep falling on my head...

Very quick, quite entertaining (but also quite sad) story from a days work in A&E, which complements the bananas on head story quite well. There was an energency paediatric head injury patient rushed into resus. I read the referral letter before i saw the patient so you can forgive my initial laughter at the situation. The referral letter read something along the lines of;
' please see this 3 year old girl with recent head injury from a 1.9kg coconut falling on her head from 9m'

When I later saw the patient she was actually in a very bad way with neurological signs and symptoms as a result of swelling and compression of the brain. The surgeons were takng over and drilling a hole in the skull to relieve the pressure. Because there are no CT or MRI scans, the diagnosis is completely clinical and in terms of prognosis, the only way to know is to watch and wait to see how she responds to the surgery.

Who knew coconuts could cause so much havoc.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

night diving...

...was SO cool! I loved it! You can see much less...obviously. because its dark. But it was awesome to be deep in the water in the pitch black. We had torches to hunt stuff out, we saw shrimps, retractable worm, big crabs. It was fun! Although I stayed very close to my instructor the whole time! Getting out of the dive was not so fun - it was raining, again. and FREEZING!

Did another day of diving the next day - saw loads of sharks and eagle rays. visibility is about 20m which was pretty good, some of the coral on a few of the dives has been trashed by tsunami, but still loads to see. Its really nice not to have to wear a wet suit on the dives because the water is so warm. The dive guys are really cool.

On one of the other days we dived a WWII wreck which was amazing. Its a huge ship called the Tao maru, Japanese ship. There were loads of cool artefacts including a medical box with an oxygen mask, vials of drugs, packets of tablets in bottles in. There was also a big army tank on board and a motorbike and a phone. It was weird to swim in and out of!
Have finished all the diving im going to be doing in Gizo, which is a good job because i've managed to get an ear infection as a result of doing so much of it! Going to the hosp to get antibiotics was an interesting procedure - ive got drugs that are normally used for eye infections in the uk! But here, said drug is used for pretty much everything!

Seraghi village visit

Despite all these interesting posts of trips and activities, I have actually been doing work at the hospital, its just that for non-medical minds, the majority of my hospital stories are pretty boring!
Sooo I'll just carry on with stories of my other adventures...
Seraghi is a beautiful village in a really remote part of Gizo island. We made friends with some locals on our wonderings through Gizo market who live in Sergahi. The village was torn apart in 2007 by a tsunami (as were a lot of the pacific islands, and the 07 one is different to the boxing day tsunami of ...2004) but the family are now in the process of building a second house to use as a 'village homestay' for tourists etc to pay and come and stay for a night or several in their village and live their life for a couple of days. It's a really good way for them to generate extra income besides just selling fish. They have already had a few guests come to stay. The family is lovely and they are so genuine. I really felt so at home with them.
The sons of the family who are of similar age to us and who we get on with really well picked us up from gizo and we had a few stops along the way to look overboard at the Tao Maru ship wreck from WWII. We couldnt really see from the surface so I put on a snorkel and stuck my head over the side! ha!
Our next stop was at a set of very small islands that are all connected by strips of white sand. It was just like you'd imagine pacific islands to look. Stunning. We took lots of photos, climbed trees, collected shells.
We finally got to Seraghi and were greeted by loads of kids who were very excited to see us. The village looked like they'd had a professional landscaper in, its was incredible considering it was flattened 3 years previously. They had beautiful houses with displays along the small main road of shells and coconuts with various different plants and flowers carefully arranged. Meva (the mother) told us a pretty scary story of when the tsunami hit. It was really interesting to hear it from someone who experienced it first hand. We chatted a while with the family then headed back out with the boys to do some fishing...which was SUCH good fun! We caught loads, and its so much more exciting when each fish is crazy colours and you only have to wait 5 minutes before something bites! Ambrose said I was good at it anyway! haha! We then headed over to another island called Jarre for snorkelling - it was only on the way back to Gizo that we realised how close the island we were snorkelling pretty far off of was to a big crocodile hang out....brilliant! luckily we survived to tell the tale....
Meva had made us an amazing lunch whilst we'd been out and we sat down and had dinner with the family, it was so lovely! and there were loads of kids running around the place, such a nice atmosphere. We wanted to take loads of photos but unfortunately 3 out of 3 cameras were either broken or out of battery which was SO annoying! too many photos of the fishing!

Nusatupe night

Spent an amazing evening on Nusatupe Island on 24th Aug. We made friends with a guy working for 'World Fish' (ha!) and he lives on Nusatupe in a little shack with the only company being one other guy (who also works for world fish), several dogs and a whole ton of giant clam ponds! ha! the only other thing on the island is an airport landing strip that receives all the flights for people going to Gizo.
Anyway, Tim (World Fish man) picked us up in his boat and drive us over, we went snorkelling looking for turtles but it was abit too dark by the time we got in the water so we didnt see any. We had an AMAZING spag bol dinner and encountered a few incidents trying to gut and cook reef fish from Gizo market...World Fish man obvs came to the rescue with that one! It such a surreal lifestlye, there are more dogs on the island than people, and its so quiet and he lives right on the beach in the middle of the pacific ocean....
Getting back to gizo by boat in the pitch black very late at night was interesting, especially with alex being trusted to shine the light on the navigation posts.... we made it though!

funny story

So I was in outpatients in of only 2 medical students running the clinic... and a 16 year old girl came in with a classic history of naturally I asked her if there were any exacerbating factors - her response was 'sometimes when bananas fall on my head, that makes it worse'.
I had to try very hard not to laugh. Only in the Solomons are bananas falling on ones head an exacerbating factor for migraines! love it.

Monday, 23 August 2010

The Hash

Gizo is really quite small so any expats residing here all know each opther in one way or another, and every Weds they have whats called a 'Hash" which is basically where all the expats/tourists/volunteers meet up and go on a big run/walk (i was in the latter group!) around the island and then back to an agreed location - which is usually someones house and have food and drinks etc. its a really nice way to meet people doing loads of weird and wonderful things in the sol islands. We all went on Weds...we didnt realise quite how challenging the walk would be and so rocked up in our plkastic flip flops only to realise we had to climb up muddy mountains and random bits of jungle! ha! luckily i finished the walk with both flip flops still in tact!
We went back to a RAMSI police officers house this week, he's australian and when we walked into his house our eyes lit up for 2 reasons 1; he had a huge washing machine and tumble dryer and 2; we spied a massive BBQ with a load of meat on it : )
the food was amazing. meat has never tasted so good! We made sure to bond with the RAMSI so we could come back and use his washing machine...which we did on Saturday! : )

*RAMSI; Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands. Its like a second poilice force made up from aussie and NZ police who are over here to maintain stability and encoutrage better work ethic in the local police force...or something like that!