It has been a tiring yet eventful first day here in Grenada. When we first stepped off the plane around 6am and descended into the warm tropical air, I whipped off my winter jacket and vowed never again to return to snow. The breeze from the ocean felt refreshing after taking a red-eye from New York. After nearly 12 hours in transit, we finally reached our destination.
One of our first destinations was St. George’s open air market. It was located near the bottom of a hill, where merchants sold familiar items like mangoes, papaya, bananas and plantains and star fruit (i.e. “five fingers”). There were other items I was not familiar with like, soursop, sea moss and pepper jelly. The most striking part of the market was the array of herbs & spices. There were vanilla beans, lemongrass, nutmeg, cinnamon, jerk seasoning, cayenne pepper, black sage, turmeric, mace, cloves and star anise… just to name a few. Grenada after all, is the Spice Island.
The entire day was inundated with new sights, scents and sounds. Grenada has narrow, winding roads where people drive on the left side of the street. Scattered among the green hills are rooftops painted like seashells, the colors as vibrant the marketplace, in corals, greens, reds and oranges. Since our PHAST team had some free time before we started our various projects on Monday, a few of us visited Grand Anse beach, a 2-mile stretch of white sand along a sheltered bay within walking distance of St. George’s University. The color of the water was the truest blue I had ever seen. The water, the sun and the breeze amounted to an overall sense of wellness, at least for me.
We have just begun, finally settling in and allowing ourselves some time to decompress and get a sense of our surroundings. After plunging right in on Day 1, it was nice to enjoy the island, recuperate from the tiredness of travel and importantly, to ask ourselves questions about what shapes health and well-being in Grenada. Also, how will be engage with the local community, and best prepare for our upcoming projects? When the sand settles, we will start on our projects where exciting lessons on “wellness” will start to unfold…