Preparing for Grenada: Realizing How Much I Don't Know


Soha Khedkar

3rd Year, Dual Degee, MBA, MPH Health Behavior Health Education Candidate

 When I first told a well-traveled friend of mine that I would be in Grenada over spring break to participate in public health fieldwork, she immediately said “Oh, you’re going to love Spain!”… which confused me because I was under the impression that I would be escaping Michigan winter for warm Caribbean beaches. However, I assumed that I was mistaken in my geographic knowledge and made a note to quickly go double check where on Earth Grenada actually is. 

Good news: A quick double-check of my course syllabus and Google Maps quickly revealed to me that my dreams of Caribbean beaches will still come true, phew!

 As my team and I are getting ramped up on our project to help the Grenada Red Cross Society establish a formal blood donation program, I am constantly reminded about how little I, as a born and raised American citizen, really know about countries like Grenada (starting with physical location). In all the research we reviewed before our trip, what has become clear to me is that there is a huge gap in available data, information, and academic research about public health systems, attitudes, and behaviors in a small but mighty island nation. 

While I am incredibly excited about this opportunity to put my newly minted MBA/MPH skills to the test in this field experience, I am experiencing some apprehension about how unfamiliar this territory is for me (literally and figuratively). This will be my first true international field experience and no matter how much I prepare ahead of time, the limited availability of data about blood donation in Grenada means that I’m going into the experience without all the information I’d like to have. In full transparency, that’s really intimidating to a Millennial who is used to having ALL the information at my fingertips (thank you, Google). 

At the same time, it feels like this gap in knowledge almost prevents me from forming too many preconceived notions about what Grenadians value and what our final recommendations will be. Without the extra noise of others’ perceptions, I can take advantage of this space to really listen and learn from the communities in Grenada and design solutions based on their feedback rather than my own “knowledge,” which is the aspect of this project I am most looking forward to. I am thankful for this opportunity to grow in my own humility and hopefully help others along the way. Grenada, here I come!