Today, Thursday the 3rd, marks my fifth full day in Grenada and I don’t know where to begin. There is so much about this island that absolutely captivates me, and each day I fall more and and more in love with it. It will be so hard to leave.
I have spent the past few days meeting with community stakeholders across the country to gain feedback and insight on Grenada’s first National Reproductive and Sexual Health survey. I have been able to meet and learn from many different members of the Grenadian community, from school-age children to GrenCHAP, Grenada’s LGBTQ community organization. Being afforded the opportunity to meet the community, who have been nothing but hospitable, friendly and generous, has given me so much insight and perspective both on the project as well as on Grenada in general. Doing this work would not have been possible without the amazing people at the Grenada Planned Parenthood Association (GPPA), whose staff and members have been liaisons and gateways into these communities. This has been one of my favorite parts of this trip–that the work was guided by the community completely; we’re here to build capacity and fill in any gaps when needed.
Beyond this crucial work, there are so many things about this country that have left a lasting impression on me. I appreciate and admire the feeling of true community that is present across the island. With a population of ~106,000 that could fit into the Big House with seats to spare, everybody seems to know everybody. But beyond that, the community takes care of one another and even of its visitors. The culture is beautiful, proud, and unapologetic. The spirit that lives on this island is a trait that I wake up every day hoping to embody in my interactions with those around me.
The landscape of the country is so captivating, and has been reminding me of Lebanon, the country where I completed my summer public health internship. This has made me excited, nostalgic, and largely grateful for the opportunities I’ve been afforded by the University to do public health work in these beautiful countries, that are similar in some aspects but also quite different from one another. The narrow and winding roads, coupled with the (we’ll call it carefree) driving makes for an eventful daily commute to GPPA. The mountainous views of the island, the clear blue ocean, and the white sand bring a sense of serenity and calm to contrast.
I’m in denial that I have to leave in 48 hours, but I know that these experiences will have a lasting impact on my future as a public health professional. I am so excited to share my experiences with everyone back home–to tell them all about my love story with Grenada.