Homesick: Ghana or Grenada

Araba Gyan Blog 2

Araba Gyan

2nd Year, MPH Candidate

Guess who gets to not deal with the cold for a while…ME! Take that, Michigan! 

Hello GRENADA! During our landing, there was a time when it looked like we were heading into the ocean, and I thought, "Ummm is this right?" But then, I saw land on the other side and said, "oh, it's an open airport." As the Grenada heat met me as I was heading into their airport, I only wanted to take off my layers of Michigan weather protection and embrace this new weather that Michigan could never compare with. Our drive from the airport to the hotel was very scenic. It almost felt like we were in a movie with all the flowers in front of the houses, people walking closely by motion cars, others sitting in front of their homes taking in the sun and breeze, and the chickens running freely. It reminded me so much of Ghana; I could get used to it! We had the opportunity to visit the Grand Anse beach, and I have never been homesick as I watched the waves hit the shore, the children running as the tide came in, the laughter of children in the ocean, and the smell and taste of the ocean. These children reminded me of growing up in Ghana and going to the sea to play in the water. You get close enough to run back to the shore because you can't swim. Do you know what I did not see, though? People building sandcastles ~ I guess it is an American thing; or not. But will I instead build a sandcastle than a snowman? Yes, I will! It was fun also seeing the waterfalls, the forestry, and all the different types of fruits and spices they grow. It is called the spice island for a reason because every corner of the market has someone selling spices. I am incredibly grateful for this moment where I am the closest I can be to my motherland Ghana

The country I see right now is very laid back; the ocean view is AWESOME! The food is excellent, and the people are lovely. There is a connection between the people that feels very special. Everyone knows each other, and the beauty of it all is that it highlights the community's importance. Part of my project with the Grenada Planned Parenthood Association (GPPA) was interviewing young men and women discussing sexual and reproductive health (SRH). I wish a textbook or manual existed for that, but here we are. We had the opportunity to conduct focus groups on knowledge and needs assessment regarding sexual and reproductive health. These young adults were terrific, and I had a great time conducting my first on-the-field needs assessment. The young adults have a wealth of knowledge on the topic, are experienced, and, most importantly, know what they need regarding SRH. As I indicated in my first blog, we are working with some SGU students, and one of these students took the lead in interviewing young adults. It was a great experience to witness Grenadian residents' influence in asking sensitive questions as SRH. Of course, sometimes being a foreigner helps others to open up because of that main reason - being a foreigner. Still, it was empowering to connect with a resident who cares about the topic and the people to help us get the answers we need. Tomorrow, we will go into the community for our quantitative survey, and I am excited to go into the communities to meet other Grenadians. 

Now, let's talk about the fact that drivers in Grenada are one hell of drivers. Grenada has a lot of mountains with very narrow roads. And when I say narrow, I mean narrow. But our tour guide and the person taking us to our sites were making some maneuvers on the roads that made me curious about two things – one, who is teaching them how to drive? Michigan can use their help; we will keep a hush on this second one. What is their mobile accident rate? I guess the roller coaster rides come with the Grenada experience, and I am here for it. 

Excuse me; there is a street food festival and live music with a view I need to get to. All work and no play makes Araba have an attitude you don't want to see.