When I heard PHAST was accepting applications to go to Grenada, the Pirates of the Caribbean enthusiast in me naturally gravitated toward scenes from the movie. Of course, I knew this wasn’t representative of Grenada or the Caribbean, but I realized that I didn’t know very much about the region. Feeding my curiosity, I ran a Google search on Grenada and read up as much as I could, but little did I know that my search would pale in comparison to the amount of Grenadian history and culture I would learn during the weeklong deployment.
The PHAST crew began the week with an island tour headed by the infamous Mr. Mandoo (best tour guide ever). We did the usual tourist activities like sightseeing of Grenadian landmarks and shopping, but there were a couple points during the tour that really stood out to me. One of which was a sense of pride for the country. Every parish we drove through had beautifully painted displays indicating the date or the number of years since Grenada gained its independence. Grenadian artwork and even colors were splattered all over the island reminding me that I was definitely in Grenada.
Another point that stood out to me was the forecasted shift away from agriculture, which could pose a problem for Grenadians since a good portion of Grenada’s revenue comes from agriculture. According to Mr. Mandoo, many of the current famers are older in age, but the problem lies in the fact that these farmers aren’t being replaced because the younger generation are seeking job opportunities outside of agriculture. This trend could be temporary, and a shift to agricultural jobs may occur, but until then, I am very interested in how this will unfold. Lastly, whether it’s a honk on the horn or a shout-out from the street, it seemed as if everyone knew each other and were connected in some way. It definitely made the island feel smaller than it really is, and as a visitor of the island, the close-knit feeling was truly comforting.
As the week went on, I was greeted on multiple occasions with Grenadian hospitality. From the market conversations I had with the locals about domestic violence to finding the good eateries, I was always welcomed with open arms. It was a nice change being able to go up to any Grenadian and just strike up a conversation without questioning each other’s motives. I loved that the conversations I had with Grenadians were very candid as well. It definitely made me think about why I was so guarded and skeptical when it came to talking to strangers because clearly, strangers can have meaningful conversations about sensitive topics as demonstrated by the many conversations I had with Grenadians.
All in all though, my experience in Grenada was nothing short of amazing. What I posted here was just a fraction of what I experienced in the short period of time. Imagine what I could have done and experienced if I would have stayed just a little longer. I guess that means I have to plan another trip to Grenada, but until then, thanks for the great memories Grenada!