Maddie Encompass


DSC00193Soft-shell crab is a popular food in the Solomon Islands. The crab loses its tough outer shell and if caught and cooked at this time you can eat the soft exoskeleton underneath. As well as enjoying the crab, I felt a lot like one during my trip to the Solomons. I could feel the layers of Sydney stress peeling away and a re-focus of priorities. I found a gentler, more genuine side of myself that wasn’t always thinking about a to-do list or planning for tomorrow.

DSC00048Over September and October last year I stayed with the Dominican sisters in Honiara, Auki, Gizo and Loga. This trip was organised as a new fellowship program to foster links between ex-students and the Solomon Islands. I remember seeing an ex-students email describing the fellowship and I didn’t know what to expect but thought it sounded like an adventure and a much-wanted break from my studies.

The Solomons faces great, extended obstacles at every societal layer. Lack of public infrastructure and economy mean that most people experience subsistence living, relying on their backyard garden. In face of these hardships, a NZ volunteer I met along the way described the Dominican Sisters as a bright light, shining in the most difficult of circumstances. The community look to the Sisters with respect, gratitude and most importantly, trust. The sisters adopt a number of roles to meet the community’s needs including teachers, environmentalists, advocates, social workers, nurses and spiritual guides.The Solomon Islands is a beautiful friendly place and I’ve never met a group of people who have such fulfilled spiritual and social needs, whilst so many of their basic practical needs remain unmet. I was overwhelmed by the sense of kinship, community and connection.

DSC00215I feel privileged to have had this opportunity and want to extend the warmest of thanks to the Dominican sisters and Ex-students association whom made this Fellowship possible. For anyone interested in the Solomons or possibly traveling there please get in contact I’d love to chat.


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