Grenada Insights: Learning Through New Eyes

Palm tree in Grenada

Carlton Mamo

1st Year, MPH, Health Management and Health Policy Candidate

Going to Grenada gave me a bunch of firsts. It was my first time leading group discussions and one-on-one interviews about a really important topic – the lives of people with disabilities. It's one thing to talk, but another to really listen to what people need and worry about. What I've learned is that disabilities aren't always something you can see, and everyone's got their own story that shapes how they experience life and how others see them. 

I found out that people with disabilities often don't get a say in choices that are about them, which isn't fair. They should have more control over their lives and be part of every conversation that involves them. 

What struck me most was how everyone has different strengths and challenges. No one is just their disability. There are folks who might not look like they have challenges, but they do, and sometimes, they have to work harder to make sure others understand what they need. 

One powerful moment was visiting a school for deaf students who put on an amazing music show. I love music, and seeing how much joy it brought them reminded me that music connects us all, no matter what. 

Being in Grenada made me think about all the ways I have it easy and how that's not the same for everyone. It's taught me to drop any ideas I have about what people can or can't do and to see everyone for what they're capable of. 

I also picked up a new skill – facilitating focus groups and interviews – which has made me better at listening to people's stories and trying to bring about change. It's made it very clear that behind every disability, there's a person with their own life and needs. 

Then, there was the time spent with caregivers. These amazing people take care of others who have disabilities, and they shared their stories with us. They do so much and often feel like they don't get enough help or training. They showed me how important it is to take care of yourself, too, because you can't help others if you're running on empty. 

All in all, my trip to Grenada has changed me in many ways. I've learned a lot about disabilities but also about human strength and kindness. These lessons will help me a lot as I move forward with my work and in my everyday life.

 This trip wasn't just a learning experience – it was a heart-opening one. The people I met, the things I learned, and the ways my view has changed are treasures I'll keep with me from here on out.