SQUIZ THE WORLD (1400 × 700px)

Squiz the World goes to… Solomon Islands

Kids in canoes!: https://www.cruisingworld.com/story/destinations/canoe-kids-in-the-solomon-islands/

Bilikiki song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHp5GA_BccA
Poi recipe: https://nationalfoods.org/recipe/national-dish-of-solomon-islands-poi/

Coconut pudding: https://www.internationalcuisine.com/coconut-pudding/

Squiz Shortcuts for grownups: https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/squiz-shortcuts/id1477008816

Each week, we give the world globe a spin, and see where we land. Then we take the kids of Australia on an audio excursion to visit that country and its people.

I’m Amanda Bower, and today on Squiz the World we’re visiting one of our closest neighbours. Let’s see if you can guess which country I’m talking about. It consists of six major islands and over 900 smaller islands … those islands lie to the east of Papua New Guinea … and their waters contain 474 different species of coral, the second highest diversity of corals in the world.

Still don’t know?

Okay, last clue. Okay, last clue. This country has been in the news because its government signed a security with China that could result in the Chinese military and navy spending time there.

That might not sound like a big deal, but careful Squiz Kids listeners will have noticed that in the last year or so, Australia, America, and other countries have been struggling to get along with China.

So if China is suddenly flexing its military muscle in the Pacific, some people think that could be not only a threat to Australia, but to the stability of the whole Pacific region.

Still don’t know where we’re going? It’s the Solomon Islands. And it’s high time we found out more about this South Pacific neighbour of ours!

Strap yourselves into the Squiz Kids Super Fast Supersonic Jetliner as we take off and take a squiz at the Solomon Islands …

Just the Facts
People have been living in the Solomon Islands for over 30,000 years. Like so many countries in the Pacific, including Australia, England claimed Solomon Islands as a colony… but since 1978, it’s been an independent country that is part of the British Commonwealth… again, just like Australia.

The capital of Solomon Islands, and the country’s biggest city, is Honiara. Fewer than 700,000 people live in the whole of the Solomons, and Honiara has about 94,000 people… so there no skyscrapers or train lines … and in fact in some parts of Honiara, people don’t have access to proper toilets  or drinking water. Solomon Islands is one of the poorest countries in our whole region.

And often when a country is poor, its system of government has problems. Solomon Islands has had plenty of problems… over the years, Australia has been asked to send police and army officers to the islands a number of times, to try to help calm things down when the situation got violent. Which is why Australia is particularly disappointed that now, after we’ve helped Solomon Islands, their government has turned to China as an ally.

Enough politics! Although if your teacher or parent wants to know more, they should check out the grown-up Squiz Shortcut on the Solomon Islands. I’ll pop a link in your episode notes. One of the ways that Solomon Islanders hope that their country will make more money is through tourism. At the moment, it’s one of the least visited places in the world, but keen scuba divers rave about the incredible WWII wreck diving – wrecks of sunken ships and downed planes are now covered in coral and home to abundant – that means a lot of – marine life. I’d love to dive there!

Whenever you travel, it’s important to learn a few words in that country’s language. It’s a great way to show respect. So, let’s….

Learn the Lingo
In Solomon Islands the official language is English… but only about 2% of the population can communicate fluently in English. If you want to talk to locals, you’ll need to speak Solomons Pijin…

We are so lucky to welcome today Squiz Kid cousins James and Georan, who live in Honiara and are 11 and 7 years old. James is going to teach us how to say hello:
Gudfala dae

See how it sounds close to English, but not quite? Go on, you give it a try! Gudfala dae

People are always really grateful when you just try to speak their language. They may even thank you for it. Hey, Georan, how do we say thank you?

Tagio Tumas

And Tagio Tumas to you, too, James and Georan.

Now that we can communicate a little bit, it’s….

Time for School
The first thing to know about school in Solomon Islands is that it is NOT compulsory, even though it is free. Compulsory means you MUST do something… so if school isn’t compulsory, that means kids don’t have to go. Less than half of all kids finishes primary school in the Solomon Islands… and the poorer you are, and the further you live from a city or town, the less likely you are to go to, and finish school.

Some of you might secretly be thinking – No school? Bring it on! But those kids aren’t going to school because they have to work for their families, trying to farm enough food or catch enough fish to survive. They’re definitely not sitting on the couch playing video games.

Here’s something really cool about the kids who do go to school… lots of them get there by canoe! Learning to paddle a canoe by yourself in the Solomon Islands is kind of like learning to ride a scooter for Aussie kids… and with more than 900 islands to explore, it’s your ticket to adventure! And those kids who don’t go to school and have to work, often do it by selling things from canoes. I’ve popped a link in your episode notes to a blog from people sailing through the Solomons, with lots of pictures of kids in canoes.

Just as we love our sport in Australia, kids in Solomon Islands are also active! Let’s learn what the Bilikiki Boys are famous for in …

Sport Time
Hands up if you’ve ever played soccer? Keep your hands up if you’ve felt tired after all that running!

Now, imagine doing all that running… in sand. Exhausting! Not to mention getting it in your mouth, eyes, nose, and ears every time someone kicks the ball!

Beach soccer is hugely popular in the Solomon Islands, and their men’s national team, the Bilikiki Boys, are usually ranked first or second in our region of Oceania.

Bilikiki is a kind of sea bird, and there’s a popular children’s song about it in Solomon Islands. When the Bilikiki boys win a match, they’re known for performing the song- I’ve included a link to the song in your episode notes.

Phew! All that thinking about sprinting in sand has made me starving! I think it might be…

Dinner Time
All of the famous local dishes in the Solomon Islands use the fruits and vegetables that grow there… and of course the amazing seafood caught in its waters. Pawpaw trees line the roads in the islands, and their fruits are used a lot in cooking, at every stage of ripeness. Curries made with unripe green pawpaw are very common, and the paw paw takes on the flavour of the spices.

But the unofficial national dish is probably something called poi. It’s made from taro root, and it’s a bit like mashed potato… you cook the roots, then blend them up into a smooth paste, and eat it as a side dish with that delicious fish you caught this morning.
I’ll pop a recipe in your episode notes… and if you can’t find taro root in your supermarket, there’s also a recipe for coconut pudding, a typical dessert. Yum, yum, YUM.

The S’Quiz
This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening.

Question 1. What does Solomon Islands have 474 species of?
Question 2. Which country has the Solomon Islands signed a deal with, causing concern in Australia?
Question 3. What are the Bilikiki Boys named after?