As much as we plan, we can never account for unexpected events. On Friday (the day we left), we found out that the faculty lead on one of the projects had to leave Grenada to attend to family matters (please see below). From the emails that passed between us during the weekend, the project was still on, but we would have to make a few calls on Monday to confirm times and touch base with the community leads.
On Monday, surveys are ready and locations are confirmed. Uh, did he just say the students are the main presenters to the community fitness team on Wednesday? I could see the panic in the student’s eyes. Presentation = Academic presentation = grades = OMG!
For me on the other hand – Yes – public health in action! I begin to think of all the possibilities and I hope the students see the opportunity to be creative and daring in a short space of time. Attitude towards new challenges are the key in practicing public health. If you think you can then possibilities are endless. However, if you believe that you cannot then nothing will be possible.
Unexpected events, unexpected expectations and unexpected relationships are important facets for PHAST members to consider when embarking on their field experience. But more importantly, it is a lesson that should be taken as they prepare for their careers. While pulling together a community event in an international context is not what we had planned, we will meet the challenge.
Dr. Satesh Bidaisee lost his father last week and is attending to the funeral and family matters in Trinidad. We are sending Dr. Bidaisee and his family our sincerest condolences. Dr. Bidaisee has tremendous energy and enthusiasm for his work and I was truly looking forward to working with him. After meeting and talking with people associated with this project, I know that he is well respected and trusted. I am grateful that Dr. Bidaisee has entrusted us with his partnerships to continue the project in his absence. Dr. Bidaisee, we got this.