The City No-One Likes Much

After three months I have come to the conclusion that no-one is really proud to call this city home, or that keen to fix it up, either. In many countries, being the location of the national capital would be an honour or an advantage for a province, but all the Guales (Guadalcanal natives) I have spoken to consider it an imposition to have it on their island, and indeed the Guadalcanal Government has several times asked for financial compensation to the Solomon Government for having to play host to the capital (and thereby put up with all the incomers). They come in from the villages to do their shoppping (mostly medicine and electrical goods) and then leave again as fast as possible, eager to get away from the mess and air pollution. Meanwhile, most of the incomers from other islands – particularly the Malaitans – are only really here becase they can get jobs in the service economy, and their hearts lie at home in the provinces. So they don’t care for Honiara much either. The only trace of civic pride I have encountered is when the older taxi drivers harken back to the days of British rule in the 1970s when they were growing up. It used to be small, clean and efficient then, they say. So, while Honiara is the centre of government, industry, tourism, trade, aid, the military and the service economy, at the same time, well…no-one actually wants to live here that much. 


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