I've arrived in Aitutaki safe and sound.
It's definitely smaller than Rarotonga, and much less things available around. You almost have to shop around all the different shops to find things. Some things are horrendously overpriced. I've seen chocolate go for $13+ in Rarotonga (but cheaper in Aitutaki) and peppers (aka. capsicums) go for $40+/kg!!! But you learn to do without.
Hospital here is small. Not surprising, huh? But it has what it needs to get by. A large part of the work here is rural GP type of work, with some inpatient services. I think there are 26 beds in total. It's funny how nurses refer to "Men's Ward" and "Children's Ward" when the whole inpatient part of the hospital is just one big room with different sections. So it's probably better to call them "Men's Section or Wing." Either way, right now it doesn't matter too much because there are no inpatients!
Ben (the other student here) and I were lucky to not get called at all last night. I heard he was getting called 2-3 times a night last week and with some more complicated things. But everyone is just lovely here and easy to get along with. I think I'll be having lots of fun over the next 11.5 weeks.
Student room is... not what I had exactly expected. I thought it'd be some form of accommodation block or room on the hospital site somewhere. Turns out to be a room right next to the ward (literally 5 metres away). The elective coordinators didn't quite plan it well and didn't realise they'd be having two strangers of the opposite sex in the hospital at the same time. We are having to share the room at the moment. We are both pretty chilled about it, so it has worked out ok, but certainly not ideal. My mother literally screamed out, "ARE YOU FOR REAL" when I told her. We just have to be a bit more considerate with each other. We are getting along pretty well so it's all good. Beds are terrible to be honest. I woke up with a flare up of my back pain. But hey, it's still free accommodation and we literally just sleep in the room.
I will write more about the hospital later. Photos are taking forever to upload here, so I'm actually typing this up on WordPad while I wait for it to upload for previous post. Internet here reminds me of how New Zealand used to be about 5-10 years ago. But by some miracle, I was able to Skype my parents last night, and video calling actually worked. Thank goodness I brought my webcam ;)
I think over the next 11 weeks or so, I'll be learning to do without and just improvising as needed. Things are limited here, so it's somewhat necessary to do so.
I am missing the nice stable hot shower in New Zealand though. Showers at the hospital is better than what was at Rarotonga Backpackers, and no cockroaches yet, but can go from Mordor to Antarctica quite easily (so I have been told - it was okay yesterday!). I have yet to go swimming at the beaches either. Apparently the good "swimmable" beaches are really only by the airport - i.e. other end of the island. We hired a scooter together so it might be something do to in the weekends.
There isn't a lot to do in the evenings either. We just had dinner at Mac Ned's and yes, they certainly make good burgers. I think there are Island Nights on in one of the resorts literally every night except Sundays, which will be good to go see. But otherwise, I don't think there is much to do.
Will update more later and actually get some photos of Aitutaki. So far, I only have a few on my phone which aren't ideal. Ka kite.