I visited the Solomon Islands in 2004 when I ran the Australian Red Cross’s International Operations. We were supporting the Solomon Islands Red Cross develop their ability to respond to disasters and build a strong sustainable organization. The country was emerging out of several years of civil violence between those who lived on Guadacanal and those who lived on Malaita, two of the bigger islands in the group. Aussie NGOs and police were basically running the country while local politicians disentangled themselves from the fighting of recent years. These are a few pictures taken during my visit.
I was surprised to discover that the islanders are HUGE betel nut eaters. In fact, I would say they out do the Indians on the consumption of this intoxicant. This man with a phone cord for a necklace and a seaman’s pipe owned a betel nut stall in a local Malaita market.
Honiara, the capital had the feel of a Graham Greene novel. Run down but bustling, a single lane road that ran along the Coral Sea off of which dirts roads, rutted and puddled, ran off to small clusters of homes in the coconut palms. This is a restaurant in the open air complex of the city’s main produce market.
Malaitan siblings smile for the camera.
This is a photo that didn’t work out. I saw it in my mind but didn’t execute the vision. What I liked was the interplay between the pineapples and other fruit on this lady’s smock and the pineapples piled up at an open air Malaita market. Still though it didn’t come out right, I’m a sucker for the pattern on the cloth so it gets included!