Reflections of Paradise

As we begin our long travel day back to Ann Arbor, I leave Grenada with the satisfaction of having the opportunity to both teach and learn from the community. For one week, PHAST members served as consults on three different separate projects, providing information and tools that may not have been easily accomplished by the community organizations due to limited resources or personnel. The materials presented to organization stakeholders were well received, and in retrospect, it was amazing how much the group accomplished in a short amount of time.

This PHAST trip was two-sided. In addition to teaching, this trip provided me with the opportunity for personal growth and to observe a new environment. One of the aspects of Grenada that continued to be surprising was hospitality and politeness of the locals. Whether it would be a simple “good morning” greeting to a stranger on the street, free rides to the beach, small favors because we were noticeably foreigners, or a car horn honk to greet fellow cars, this was consistent behavior witnessed across the island.  Despite Grenadians having the reputation to be “good-natured”, I think a large portion of the hospitality stems from their ability to embrace tourism as part of their culture. Rather than perceiving visitors with a negative connotation, Grenadians learned to appreciate the dominating role of the tourism industry and incorporate its presence into their lifestyles. This became apparent at the Gouyave Fish Fry where the event was an interesting integration of both a local vibe (food tents lined along side streets & alleys with local drummers providing entertainment) with visible tourists. Nevertheless, I often found myself continually struggling to find that balance between being guarded in a new environment and accepting the local mannerism. That balance was eventually found as I became more acclimated to the community.

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