I cannot express how much gratitude I have for the PHAST program and our contacts at the Grenadian Ministry of Social Development (MSD) for providing my team the opportunity to spend a week learning about all things Grenadian while gaining valuable public health practice. Today we wrapped up our week long in country work with a final presentation to the management of the MSD. I am so proud of the accomplishments of my team especially in such a short time. In three days we completed fourteen interviews with the heads of various programs across the government and conducted a workshop on self care and conflict resolution for employees of the MSD. We will be compiling the information ascertained from the interviews to report back to MSD leadership within the next week. All in one week!
Today we also said goodbye to our Grenadian friends and colleagues. The individuals that we collaborated with to make our project a reality are truly amazing people. Their hospitality was above and beyond what I had expected. Our on-site coordinator, who I will call Bernie set up all fourteen of our interviews, participated in a large amount of them, and took time from his busy week to teach us about the culture and history of Grenada. He even taught us some of the local dialect! All of the people that we interacted with this week acted in a similar way. Kindness and compassion seems to be the Grenadian code of conduct! Because of the friendships developed it was a devastating to hug them goodbye and realize that I will may never see them again.
The government employees that we worked with and interviewed are also unbelievably passionate about supporting their country and community by providing services to vulnerable populations in Grenada. This passion is contagious. There were so many instances during the interviews when the interviewee would express interest in developing or evaluating a program and I wished that I could stay and offer my services to help accomplish their goals. Unfortunately, I can not stay forever but hopefully our work with the MSD will result in a product that will help them to further their mission and vision. Because our project is the first of its kind there are many aspects of our work that could be developed further into internships for incoming UMSPH students or future PHAST trips such as helping different agencies to apply for international funding or developing and hosting statistics workshops. This continuity will be invaluable for furthering the work we did and strengthening the connections we made.