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Solomon Time

Posted on 17 November 2014

Adapting to "island time" is no easy task.
Ah yes, the "island time" that I had been so thoroughly warned about before coming here. The locals call it Solomon time, and it's driving me crazy. I reign from a city where public transit requires small people with short legs to keep up with everyone else; where getting angry about someone's tardiness is completely acceptable; and where leisurely walking occurs only in designated areas (i.e. go to the park to enjoy life, ain't nobody got time for that). But, HERE. Everybody has got time for everything.

Let me paint you a word picture:

A couple weeks ago, there was a zone launch of the Ghizo women's micro-financing scheme (see photos on the right). This scheme was developed and supported by WWF-Solomon Islands, WWF-Australia, the Australian Government, the Solomon Islands Government, and John West Australia. While the launch of Zone 1 was set to start at 10am, the following chronology of events indicate that this indeed did not happen:

11am: the women start to trickle in
Noon: the venue starts being set up
1pm: impromptu election campaigning starts at the same venue
2pm: campaigning  ends and the venue starts being set up again
3pm: event starts

A little bit of a stretch, but it was worth the wait. The women were so excited and proud to be a part of this initiative, and so they should be. Since November 2013, over 600 women have saved more than SBD 126,470 under this scheme, with half of these women having received financial literacy training.


There are a couple of other things I'm trying to get used to, namely the unpredictability of running water and electricity. I can't even count the times I've lost water or power at home and at work.

Just this morning the office lost power. No Internet connection. No computer monitors. No work. Some hung around and chatted, and others went out to do errands. Meanwhile, Rachel pulled out all her hairs. I am a women of efficiency. Regardless, I've been forced to curb said efficiency and turn it into adaptability. Some of these adaptations include keeping a full bottle of water at home as security water, and making sure my laptop is always charged at 100% (god forbid I go an evening without a TV show or movie).  

Last week I went on a work trip to Choiseul Province, and it was in those few days that I really had to adapt. I remember sitting on one of the benches upon arriving in one of the communities. A nice lady calls out to me and gestures towards a bucket of water that she just set down. I give her a solid thumbs up, but in my head I'm thinking "what the heck is that for?!" My shower. No room for privacy and no conveniently placed spout above your head. I took a beat that day and showered in the waterfall on the next. My bucket showering technique is not up to par yet.

To further elucidate my point, check out our room accommodations on the right. Not quite what I'm used to, but definitely cozy. I am in the process of writing a news article (+ video) on this trip for the WWF-Pacific website, so I will inception that article into my blog once it hits the online press.


Interesting Story of the Day. Some guy flicked my arm today in the market as he was passing by. This was probably the first time 'Toronto Rachel' came out since being in Solomon Islands. Note to self: Today, produce vocal retort in batman voice. Tomorrow, chase down culprit with roadrunner speed. I'd like to see him try to stay on Solomon time then. 

Rachel Wang

WWF-Solomon Islands
October 2014 - April 2015
Salome Topo (WWF-Pacific Sustainable Livelihoods Officer)
© WWF / Rachel Wang
Zone 1 launch of the Ghizo women's micro-financing scheme
© WWF / Rachel Wang
Ridges to Reef Look and Learn in Choiseul Province, Solomon Islands
© WWF / Sara Martin
Accommodations in the village of Poroporo (Choiseul Province, Solomon Islands)
© WWF / Sara Martin
Site visit to the Choiseul Bay waterfall
© WWF / Sara Martin