It was a wonderful and busy week in Grenada. As I return back to lab, my co-workers have been asking me, “What was it like?” That’s not always an easy question to answer.
While we spent weeks learning about the culture and landscape of Grenada, learning in the classroom is different than learning in the field. During the week I worked with Grenada Planned Parenthood Association (GPPA) to build their capacity to implement a national survey on reproductive health. Expectedly, it was a busy week, but it was wonderful. The staff at GPPA was great to work with and you can readily see how much they care about the health of their community. Unexpectedly, they even made our team oil-down, which is a traditional Grenadian dish and is delicious.
You can learn more about it here: http://www.travelgrenada.com/recipe.html
During our trip we had the chance to talk with women who work in the local market, students, and teachers about sex education and issues facing youth in Grenada. Before the trip I was a skeptical that anyone would be willing to discuss these topics, since they can be sensitive. However, I was wrong and surprised at how willing people were to talk with us. What they did share was a mix of opinions and experiences with some being more religiously influenced than others.
In Grenada, 44.6% of the population is Roman Catholic and 43.5% of the population is Protestant. Religion is a big part of the culture, and in Grenada, there are close ties between religion and the government. Before a meeting at the Ministry of Education and Health, the group was led in reciting a prayer. I was not expecting that level of crossover between the two. As the meeting continued, it was pretty apparent that religion influences the education of students including what they’re taught in their curriculum to how they’re taught by their teachers. Like any good discussion, a lot of different viewpoints were present.
From an outsider perspective it was interesting to begin to learn how Grenadians incorporate religion into their culture. I even learned about less familiar ways religion was present on the island. For example, we saw houses with eggshells on the ends of yucca plants placed there to ward off evil. This was not a custom that I was familiar with before this visit, but I do think it’s an interesting use for eggs. So in the end, what was my trip to Grenada like? a little unexpected