Tag Archives: grenada
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Spice Island gets some rec

1 Dec

Grenada’s on National Geographic’s list of best trips for 2013!

This was my home for a year!

I’ve been thinking of Grenada a lot lately. Maybe I’ll head back there for a rotation soon, or better yet just a plain old vacation-style visit.

Bless Grenada.

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Last seen in Grand Anse

6 May

A classmate once described Grand Anse beach as “Peanut butter and jelly” type of beach. Even though it’s the most well-known and most frequented, it’s still my favourite. No other beach I’ve been to can beat it’s clear waters!

I’ve been swimming there since coming to the island, but this last week I saw some pretty cool things.

 

Like a Moray Eel, sticking it’s head out from a hollow rock. It’s jaws were open and it looked freaky. Those eyes! Leah dove down for a closer look and I was scared it would chomp on her. But it just shut it’s mouth and tucked back into the rock.

National Geographic

 

A tiny jellyfish, clear but outlined in purple-pink. I couldn’t find a similar picture so here’s my artists’ rendition. It was jiggling away, the mushroom top part of it fattening and flattening as it squiggled through the water. I looked up to tell Leah but when I looked back down I couldn’t find it.

Caribbean sea cucumber (NOAA PHOTO BY BECKY A. DAYHUFF)

 

When I learned how to scuba dive, my instructor Ricardo picked one of these up off the seafloor to show me. It felt firmer than I expected, and the size and shape of it made me want to throw it like a football through the water. They’re basically just a gut tube!

I knew all along

11 Apr

But I didn’t want to believe it.

The signs were there.  I stepped over it every day, pretending it wasn’t there.  I  even caught a glimpse once in a while, thought I saw something fly up at me; but I just ran my hands over my pants and still I chose to ignore it.

Until.  I run my blue highlighter dry.  While writing notes for Pharm, where blue means a drug, this won’t do.  My now useless highlighter barrel does not fit in my life anymore, and in line with my clawing toward a more organized, structured life, I go to throw it out in the kitchen bin under the sink.  I open the cupboard door and there it is.  It flashes by.  I can’t ignore it anymore.  A cockroach running across the top of the bin.

I shriek.  I slam shut the door.  I back away.  I don’t throw out the dried highlighter. It’s on my desk.

Right outside my door, just down the steps.  For days.  Dead, on it’s back.  A cockroach.  Surrounded by what can only be tiny cockroach babies, one of which I believe flew up at me as I skipped over it with my dirty laundry bag.

In other news: I hate you mosquito, get out of my room and out of my life.

Weekend in Review

10 Apr

Dropped off by a Grenadian Christian, sharing the good word. But there is something unsettling about how aryan Jesus is, even in the Caribbean.

From Mr.Chipotle. Just when you thought his burritos couldn't get any better.

Exclamations from the Easter Bazaar.

Levera beach and two mother turtles.

8 Apr

 

 

 

On the full moon, a bus of us went 2 hours up to the north point of the island, to Levera Beach.  Under red lights we watched a leatherback turtle carefully dig out a hole with her hind flippers and in a trance, she laid 100 eggs, yolk and yolkless.  She covered them up with sand, and whipped sand back behind her with her front flippers.  Exhausting, she rested once in a while.  Sand whipped at our ankles as she adjusted position again and again.  Swinging her hind flippers side to side, then stamping down on the sand with them.  Again and again.

Further down the beach another turtle had finished her camouflage.  She flopped and slid slowly and awkwardly forward in the sand, making a large arc toward us, then past us toward the water.  She rested.  She continued, and the waves lapped up onto her.  They hit her face and flew up around her.  She continued to head home toward the water and the moonlight shining off the waves.  The waves flew at her again and again, and she must have known she was almost there.  Finally the beach bottom gave way and she was floating.  We saw the top of  her leathery shell bob at the surface, and another wave crashed over her.  She slid peacefully through the wave, smooth and graceful, then she was gone.

Maybe we’ll see her again in West Africa, maybe in Newfoundland.

 

Shorts too short, and other lessons in culture

17 Jan

The school Healthy Grenada is working with had a PTA meeting tonight, so Frond and I went to introduce the program to the parents. As we were sitting waiting for the meeting to start, the principal pulled us aside into another classroom and asked who was going to be presenting. Frond said both of us. But she replied that I wouldn’t be able to do it because of my shorts. I don’t have many shorts, and the one pair that I wear a lot while here are pretty short I suppose. Not by North American standards, but for a Roman Catholic Elementary school, I could see what the principal was talking about. She said that I could hand out the fliers we had made, but I couldn’t be presenting. In the end, I went home to change and we presented together.

I appreciated the principal pointing this out to me, as it’s important. But I felt bad because I had worn these shorts to the school before, while doing activities with the kids. It really hit me that for all my trying to make Healthy Grenada a culturally competent program, I had overlooked many basic things.

We stayed for the entire PTA meeting, where parents shared some things they had learned about food, artifacts, and songs that their “forefathers” used. Grenada’s independence day is coming up in February, and judging by the efforts going in to it around town, it’s a pretty big deal. The principal and vice went on to talk about programs they are running for the students, including Sports Days (with an “Infant Cross Country Race” where the kindergarteners run a cross country course — incredible! People were saying how it was such a short course, but to me it sounded like quite a length), Spelling Contests, Reading Contests, and an ongoing school-wide Physical Activity competition. I was thinking the whole time about how I had came in to the school with so many assumptions about what the school had to offer their students. It had me wondering what exactly Healthy Grenada had to bring that would benefit the school. Was the school doing us more of a favour, by giving us a chance to volunteer with their kids? During their school time? I felt like a silly tourist.

After the meeting, we went to thank the Principal for inviting us to the meeting. She asked where we were from, and when we told her she said how we’re three different cultures. We agreed, adding that we’ve got a lot to learn from them, and she said, “Yes a lot to learn from each other” and gestured her hand back and forth between the 3 of us.

A look back on Healthy Grenada, launched!

20 Nov

Ready?

 

Who's the fastest?

 

Grade 4s at Grand Anse RC race for the title, at the first official Healthy Grenada outing.

Rickets in sunny places

14 Nov

© 2011 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about seeing kids here with Rickets, and wondered why they’d have this condition that’s classically linked to low vitamin D, which is a vitamin produced by exposure to sunlight.

Well I wrote my Nutrition final this morning, and we covered it a little more.  So-called African Rickets is common in developing countries, despite the sunniness.  Bone health is a complicated thing that’s not just Vitamin D.  It could be a lack of calcium in the diet, which would increase the release of calcium from bones, weakening them over time.  This makes sense since calcium’s involved in a lot of really important functions, some which are more important than bone strength (e.g. nerve and heart function).  So the bones go in order for more important things to continue to function.

Cow’s milk isn’t too expensive at supermarkets here (at least, not the strange long-shelf-life kind that is imported from Europe and will likely be on this island longer than I am), but the fact that cow’s milk has to be imported from Europe suggests how important it is in the Caribbean diet.

Another thing could be fruits and vegetables.  Surprisingly, they also impact bone health.  Fruits and veggies have a lot of potassium which helps to decrease the acidity of your body.  Without the fruits and veggies, the acidity goes up and bones will tend to “de-mineralize” (i.e. dissolve).  Not sure why there’d be a lack of fruits and veggies in the Caribbean diet.  Maybe it’s just individual kids personal preferences not to eat them, or maybe it’s a greater emphasis on starchy foods when kids are weaning off breast milk.

And that’s that!

Kids in the garbage

11 Nov

Leaving Frond’s place just after midnight a few nights ago, I saw a boy carefully and slowly untying plastic bags in the trash bin.  There was an older boy, early teens maybe, doing the same in the bins for the apartment building across the street.

What is going on?

Middle income

7 Nov

Middle income households back home live pretty comfortably.

Grenada is a middle-income country.  Meaning it doesn’t quite qualify for a lot of international aid programs, in some ways is doing quite well, but still has pretty dire poverty in many places.

The other night I slipped out of Frond’s place to head to the gym, hopping out quickly to try to keep mosquitos from coming in.  I saw the silhouette of two little boys, maybe 10 or 12, drinking cartons and rummaging through the trash bins outside Frond’s apartment.  Not wanting to embarrass them, or maybe embarrassed myself, I started walking towards school as if I hadn’t just seen two kids looking for food in my trash bin.

I had seen them before, one time during the day.  It was a few weeks ago and I was backing out of the parking lot.  I noticed them lingering around the garbage cans and I wondered what they were up to.  Something shady, I thought.  One boy, the taller one, was acting kind of like a look out and the other littler one was fiddling with his backpack behind the fence that the garbage bins sit next to.  I thought maybe they were drug lookouts or maybe they were child thieves.  They had backpacks and clothes without holes and shoes.  They looked like regular kids, except a little shifty eyed.  I’m not sure what it says about me that my first suspicions were that these young boys were part of a drug ring rather than that they were hungry and waiting for a chance to look for food.

I remember going through primary and high school continually hearing how lucky we were to be living in Canada.  I thought maybe they meant no war, clean water, no dirt roads.  I heard it so many times that it became kind of a cliche.  But Grenada is a middle income country.  On a scale of all the countries of the world, Grenada is average.  If you just arrived to the planet and asked to see how an average country lives, Grenada could be an example.

I still don’t really comprehend fully how lucky I am to have grown up where I did, but I think it’s a step to realize that you don’t really know.  It’s like realizing you don’t really know what the rest of the world is like, even what most of the world is like.  I’ve been raised in a bubble and it’s almost ridiculous how safe and easy it is there.

 

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