Day 12 continued…
After a very quick plane journey, I arrived in Munda. I was staying at Agnes Lodge a short walk from the airport. I arrived and was soon upgraded from a dormitory to my own room. I had my reservations about this place, I think it’s owned by Australians and the lodge is my more expensive stays in the Solomon Islands. However, some of the reviews did not reflect this prices in the quality of accommodation. And unfortunately, I must agree. The lodge accommodation is tired and not very clean, compared to the cheaper Rekona Lodge and Urilolo Lodge, this is disappointing. The food is also extremely expensive and there are few facilities to make my own food – I shall improvise!
I spent most of the day organising my financing, catching up on emails and writing up data after not having power or internet for the last few days. On the way from the airport, I noticed a few places I will try to talk to tomorrow – including the Meteorological Services for the Solomon Islands.
I was entertained part of the afternoon by my porch getting a new roof! I was stuck inside whilst the old leafed roof was taken off and a new one put into place. Thankfully, I had lots of work to be getting on with.
The Solomon Islanders start their day early, I have often been working around 7 am to the sound of the hotel staff outside. However, NGOs and Ministry don’t start their days until around 9 am, and even then, who wants a knock on their door at 9 am before their first coffee or coconut of the day? I have always made the conscious effort to wait until around 10 am, at this time I assume people will be in, their important emails will be dealt with and therefore I will be less of an intrusion.
I started my day today slightly earlier, 9:30 am. I walked to a conservation group near the airport, unfortunately, the climate change specialist was not in yet and I was advised to come back later. The Solomon Meteorological Office was also closed. I then ventured to the Ministry of Forestry and Research I had noticed yesterday. Here I was able to talk to the research officer and was then directed onto the Ministry of Agriculture.
Here I met Nena, a very bubbly lady who spoke to me about my research and gave me lots of information. She then spoke about a friend who was staying from Peru and that I should meet her. We ventured to her house, met her friend and we walked back to my hotel for a chat. It was lovely to meet someone who was also travelling, and I could talk to about where she had been and what her plans were.
After a very heavy storm, I didn’t get to sleep gone 1 am. I managed to sleep until 8 am, when I woke suddenly after almost forgetting I had agreed to have a phone call with my boyfriend. At around 10:30 am I ventured off to the Solomon Islands Community Conservation Project – alas, the climate specialist was not in. But Deano, had agreed to speak to me. He was full of interesting information, some of these thoughts agreed and disagreed with others I had spoken to. Slowly but surely, I am gaining and insight into the impacts of sea level on the Solomon Islands.
I spend the rest of the day wondering around the coastal roads, taking photographs, drinking fresh coconut and writing up my finding, thoughts and views.
Tomorrow I head to Baraulu Village to a Marine Conservation lodge – here you can learn about all the conservation they are undertaking and even get involved.
I am glad I am only staying in Munda a few days, the town itself revolves around the airport. The lodge I am staying in is not very clean or modern. The café, bar and restaurant are open to the public, but day after day the same faces arrive at the café and sit there all day. Many of the guests are either working at the airport, volunteering or researching – only one lady I know is a tourist. Munda itself is quite small – I was told to expect a town much like Gizo. Everything is located near or around the airport – which is the only airport I’ve ever seen where you can walk straight across or down the middle! With 3 planes I day I guess you can easily time when not to cross!