Sara Martin | WWF

Greetings from Solomon Islands!

If you find yourself typing 'Solomon Islands' into your Google bar for a better understanding of its location, don't feel badly. Admittedly, I knew very little about this fascinating country when I applied for the marine conservation volunteer position in Gizo. It is a country that is more known by those in this region of the world (South Pacific, Melanesia, Australia, New Zealand, etc) than by those residing further away, which is a shame. The remote island chain possesses much history, culture and biodiversity, making it a hidden gem within a vast tropical ocean. The whole world ought to be more familiar with the Pacific Ocean island nation known as the Happy Isles.


This webpage is a work in progress. 


 
Underwater girl time: taking a break from community workshops

© WWF / Sara Martin


Preparing for a Solomon adventure

Considering, in advance, what adjustments you will need to make while working and living in the Solomons may enable you to adapt to your new environment more quickly and with more ease. 

If you are coming to Solomon Islands from a developed country you will undoubetly be overwhelmed by how different life is. Based on my experiences, I offer the following words of advice: 

1. Embrace your new reality. Do not compare aspects of life and work in the Solomons to what you are used to back home. The longer you hold onto to what you once considered normal, the longer it will take you to blend in. Accept your new environment as your new 'normal' and that YOU will need to adjust to fit in. 

2. Be patient. A certain amount of structure, organization, and efficiency is lacking from day to day life. On top of that, no one is in a rush...ever. This can be frustrating at times, both at work and during leisure, but eventually you will fall into the rhythm and will come to appreciate the complete absence of stress in your new world. You just need to be patient. 

3. Slow down. As implied in #2, you will not have a choice in this matter. Most of us have heard of 'island time', right? Well, in my opinion, Solomon time is an extreme case. The sooner you come to terms with the Solomon way, the better. Trying to cheat Solomon time, or navigate around it, won't work. Don't even bother. Patience will help you adapt to the slow, relaxed pace as will adjusting your mentality. You will be 1000s of miles away from any rat race so slow down and smile. 

4. Prepare to be shocked...and awed. You will see many things that shock you and elicit much emotion. This is, after all, a developing country with high poverty, an even higher population growth rate, a resource base unable to meet the growing demands, and a government with mixed up priorities. Try not to let negative emotions show. Take a breath and observe those around you. They will likely be laughing, singing, and giving thanks for the things they do have. Solomon Islanders are a strong people and their strength will enable you to better cope with the hard realities. Fortunately, the other end of the spectrum is just as apparent; that is the tropical paradise surrounding you both on land and in the sea. You will stumble upon scenes that steal your breath and leave you speechless long afterwards. Focus on the positive, don't dwell on the negative, and consider yourself one of the fortunate few who get to experience life in Solomon Islands.  
 
Contact Me!

IFAD Project Coordinator
WWF Pacific - Solomon Islands
Email: smartin@wwfpacific.org
Skype: sarammartin