The Moments In Between
Austin Whitted, Genetic Counseling and HBHE Student
May 5, 2020, Community Partnership, Global Public Health, Grenada, Practice
Note: There was a temporary pause in the publishing of our blog posts as our team returned in early March to the rapidly changing nature of the Coronavirus in Michigan. We now wish to share the thoughts of students on their experiences just before the COVID-19 outbreak.
This past week my team and I had the privilege of working with the Grenada Red Cross to help inform their strategic plan over the coming years. To do this, we conducted interviews with different Grenada Red Cross Stakeholders, from the government of Grenada to volunteers that had worked with the Grenada Red Cross for years-engaging various types of strata and markets. While conducting these interviews, devising a set of recommendations, and ultimately community partnership were the main purposes of our time in Grenada, the time I will cherish most were the “in between moments” that we shared that enhanced the community partnership.
These “in between moments” were filled with what Grenadians would call liming.
Liming is a simple six letter word-yet, it gave me so much insight into what community partnerships should and can be at their best. Liming is the state of being present, of learning, of hanging out with someone else. It can be 5 minutes, 30 minutes, an few hours, you ultimately decide. It can also be silent, conversational, sporadic, etc. However, what it can’t and shouldn’t be is avoided. Liming this week gave me insight into the humanity that we share and is so easy to forget when we have such specific goals of what we need to accomplish on trips such as this.
Ironically, some of the most insightful conversations we had were these “in between moments”-the limes. These moments gave us the opportunity to learn not just about the culture, but about the beautiful people of Grenada. Despite our goal eventually being to interview individuals we would lime with in a one-on-one or focus group, I learned how important it was to first be present and lime with them. Liming gave use the ability to learn about these people as more than just an interview number. It helped us to learn what each other’s profession was, what our shared hobbies were, what had we both seen on the island that we could find commonality in. Liming ultimately is what I attribute to the success of the work we were able to accomplish. It was the peaceful reminder before, during, and after the busy interviews that these were people. People who cared for their country and just like we Americans do. Who worked hard and believed what the Red Cross invited us to do in Grenada would be beneficial in the long-term. Liming taught me that no hidden agendas can exist in community partnership. That in this scenario the success of PHAST and the Grenada Red Cross were interlocked. This trust is essential in community partnership and often times it is the “limes” outside of the formalities that establish this trust.