One of the things we love about working in the Solomons is the smallness of the place. We are always running into people we know. It happened in Fiji – sitting in the transit lounge at the airport I saw a Tongan friend whom I had gotten to know from the last time we lived in the Solomon Islands. We were soon catching up with what had happened in Honiara over the past year.
On our way to the Solomons, we had a stopover in Vanuatu. We were asked to stay on the plane while they cleaned it and prepared it for the next leg of the journey. Sarah and I head to the back of the plane to use the restroom when we found our friend, Rex, sitting at the back of the plane. Rex is originally from the village we lived in when we first came to the Solomon Islands. We met him in New York City in 1997 where he was serving at the Solomon Islands Ambassador to the UN, USA and Canada. Rex has a degree in applied linguistics and has always been interested in our translation and literacy work in the Solomons.
At the moment, Rex is the head of a large non-profit organization that works in development around the South Pacific. It was great to catch up with Rex and hear what is happening in the area and to provide him with information about what our group is doing. We exchanged business cards and the networking has begun again – before we even stepped foot on Solomons soil.
Oh, yeah. At the end of the conversation, something came up about our carpenter friend from the village who has helped us a lot with building projects on our house. Rex said he wants our friend to build him a house in their village and will pay him to do the work. Our friend will be thrilled to have a way to make some money in the village.