As I sit in the airport preparing for our journey to Grenada, my mind is racing and it’s starting to sink in that in a few short hours, I’ll be in another country getting ready to do applied public health work. This coming week, I will be working with two other students with the Grenada Planned Parenthood Association (GPPA) in building capacity for their first National Reproductive and Sexual Health Survey. Aside from the obvious pros of being in the Caribbean for the next week, I am eager to get to work and immerse myself in the Grenadian experience and work towards making tangible changes with the various stakeholders in the country.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been learning all about Grenada: from cultural tidbits to national policies. I am grateful to be working with a team of people who prioritize cultural awareness and competence, and much of our preparation has revolved around understanding our own positionalities within the larger Grenadian context as foreigners and as public health consultants. This is one of the biggest things I’ve been thinking about as I get ready to go: being cognizant of the limitations that come with being from another place, but also recognizing that my voice, perspectives and ideas are important and will contribute to the success of the project.
Aside from this, as a public health professional to-be who is interested in sexual and reproductive health, I am excited to be working with GPPA and to learn more about how these issues are discussed in a context with which I am, for all intents and purposes, unfamiliar. I hope this will be a week of both contributing and learning, and that I can give a fraction of what this experience will certainly give me.