Keeping Faith in the Seeds That You Plant

Kamara Gardner Blog 3

Kamara Gardner

2nd Year, MPH Health Behavior Health Education Candidate

“Home Sweet Home,” I thought sadly, as I walked through the jetway feeling the cold air blow in. It sunk
in that I was back in the Moody Mitten, in the middle of the blistering winter. I immediately missed the
warm sun and beautiful sea of Grenada.

Here's the ugly part they don’t tell you about global health work.

In my first post, I mentioned that I was excited to deploy to Grenada to experience global health work.
This would be my first time out of the country (unless you count Canada) and I spent ample time on tik
tok and youtube looking at vlogs and places you must visit in Grenada. But, after a few days on the
grounds, I began struggling with conflicting feelings. I was ecstatic to indulge myself in Grenadian
culture, strengthen my skills in public health work, and form closer relationships with my colleagues. But,
I also felt ashamed to step into another country for the first time and provide guidance after just a few
days on the grounds. I’d tell my roommate, who had done global health work in the past, and she’d listen
and let me know that there are normal feelings to have.

In addition to my conflicting feelings of joy and shame, and, it’s a full circle moment that I am writing
about this because I mentioned this on the first day of my qualitative research methods class. It's that I
struggle with being finished with the work when the work ends. I’ve always had the desire to complete
things and see things all the way through. But, sometimes given time constraints, you may not see the
finished product. Our group observed other unlisted deliverables that may help optimize elderly care
services in Grenada, but we aren’t able to create all of them given that this course soon ends. We
recommended to the administrative staff that they consider these for future projects. Sade’, provided me
great comfort by telling us that the next set of students can always work on the recommendations we
provide for future projects. I’m actively learning to be okay with planting the seed (initial assessment) and
hoping that it will continue to be watered, receive sunshine, and grow (final products). I feel like this
trend is often seen in public health. Our professors teach us in hopes that when we become public health
professionals we will use the skills that we have learned in our work and make a difference. This takes a
great deal of trust and optimism.

Grenada was an amazing experience for me and a lot of “firsts” happened. I went inside a senior home for
the first time, I went snorkeling for the first time, I had oil down for the first time, I went out of the
country for the first time, I rode in a car that drives on the opposite side of the road for the first time, a
bird nibbled at my breakfast for the first time, and I’m sure I’m forgetting others. Grenada is something
that I will never forget and will always be thankful for.

My biggest takeaway from this is keeping faith in the seeds that you plant.