It is really hitting home now that the Solomons adventure is albeit over. I am at my desk for my last week of work, I have only a few days and not a lot to do other than to prepare for one of the students graduation but amongst the trickles of work, the place seems to be crumbling around me… If I didn't have places to go I'd be having second thoughts about leaving and help out a bit longer.
But what's done is done and there will always be some sort of reason to stay I guess.
As smoke from the Honiara dump drifts through the louvered walls of the office and an angle grinder screams from across the road, I'll put together a quick write on some of the more everyday parts of life here that are a world away from Australian life.
Firstly the Honiara Dump. Honiara has a huge problem with waste and when not burnt on the street most litter finds its way out to sea or at the city's dump. The site just happens to be adjacent to my work and the morning view of smoke billowing across a sunbaked dirt road with dusty silhouettes of barefoot or slipper clad Solomon Islanders heading to their daily routines will be forever vivid in mind.
Not only home to waste management staff and garbage, the dump is also home to many families who reside in makeshift shacks of tin and whatever else is around that can keep off the rain or provide shade from tropical sun. Residents meander around the site fossicking through newly arrived loads for anything of use and value, while children run about and play in clothes usually with more holes than material.
It is a stark reminder of the contrasts in this place from wealth to poverty. With this, a completely different kind of life to those choosing to stay in their villages without income, there at least food can be grown and there is a community. Here no doubt the people are bound by their experience but it could not be justly called a community. Life is hard for these people and I've a better understanding of it than most outsiders and even many Solomon Islanders. Several of my students having come to my training courses while living at the site and I have visited on several occasions, really I don't have to look far to draw comparisons to my early years which has helped with the successes here.
Hmm well that was a bit deep, next one I'll cheer things up with tales of Honiara's black market grog corner.