Sunday, March 29, 2015

And So It Starts Again

So much excitement, anxiety, and a little fear. On April 12, early in the morning I'll be finally heading to Grenada. I say finally as I applied for this position back in September when I was still in Senegal contemplating quitting for various reasons. When I found out then in October, not only could I not believe it, I was crazy ecstatic. I'm sure other volunteers hated me at the time.

I was then due to leave early February. Once home I needed to take care of some medical things that could have been taken care of in country, but I was too close to being done in November. Due to this, my leave date was pushed out until April. Making it SIX months that I have know that I am going but can do nothing but sit wait, schedule appointments, go to appointments, get paper work, send paper work and wait for what to do next.

Gladly having this be my second time with Peace Corps it will be easier in so many ways. I've been emailing volunteers, expats working on the island and others there already to get an idea of what to bring, what I can buy and to get a feel for what to expect. But that is the fun about it-everyday is fun, challenging, unexpected and new. At least it was in Senegal.

As my friends who like lists, some things why Grenada will be easier than Senegal and what I know I can expect:

It's a tropical island: Already a huge difference there from the wide ranging geography of Senegal from dessert in the north, strip of vegetation at the coastline and mangrove estuaries to lush low lands in the south and mountainous in the very south eastern corner. The island is about 22 miles long by 12 miles, with

"The Island Mountains boast a high point of over 2,750 feet, atop Mount St. Catherine, and a variety of plant life, from dwarf forests, rainforests and dry forests, to mangroves at the coast, supports a diverse animal population. The reefs surrounding the island are beautiful and fun to explore. Colorful tropical fish and other sea life abound close to shore and are easily accessible to snorkelers and scuba divers."

Basically I'll never be bored.

My job is very specific: My position is working as beekeeping specialist/trainer with a beekeeping association that I will live close to. The association has roughly 40 members. As I have a job description it is a loose idea,  as the island has youth development and education volunteers.I'm sure as I'm there my job will be what it needs to be at the time. Documenting what I do is already part of a volunteers reporting process. I will be the first agriculture volunteer, but there are many NGO's (Non-government organizations) on the island and are very involved in many projects.  Something I need to be aware of is who is doing what and making sure not to step on toes or put my foot in my mouth. Sadly a year is a short time in bee calender, so I'm hoping to stay longer. The islands are known to have 4th year education volunteers. (who wouldn't want to stay there?!)

I'll be in the bush, but one with electricity & running water: I could still do without either of these on a tropical island but it is nice to have them and not have to worry about bringing/creating/storing these resources. I'll be living in Birch Grove, dead center of the island and next to the Grand Etang National Park. Hopefully I will have a view of the ocean. Also living not on the coast should also help for having a somewhat lower mosquito population.


Not the only white person for miles: This is good and bad. It was nice to be 'special' in Senegal, but also being the only white person just allows them to point you out even more. There is a medical school on the island long with many other expats. Many of the you tube videos I've seen of the island is mostly of white people. Hopefully Grenadians are just as welcoming as Senegalese and take care of me just as well.

We speak the same language:English is the main language in Grenada and some people speak Creole but it's different than Haitian creole. I'm sure I'll learn some but it will be nice to speak to everyone from the get go and not feel like I'm making an idiot of myself due to my lack of knowledge with language.

People will visit me:Senegal was hot, complicated and not the easiest place to travel internationally. As for Grenada, you don't need a visa, just a passport and a return ticket. There is a large mosquito population but they do not have malaria just Chikungunya. It's a virus without a vaccine or preventative medication. Like dengue fever, you have flu like symptoms for a week and then have body aches for a month. Seems like everyone gets it and nothing you'd want to get on vacation. Once you have it you never get it again. Lots of bug spray and keep covered helps. Otherwise the island is a wonderful place to visit.

I'm sure there are other things, but this is a pretty good list considering it's enough to make my simple life much, much easier. Looking forward to getting there, settled and start exploring and working.

My address has already been updated on the contact tab and I'll make sure to continue to blog about my work and life there too. Just don't get mad when I post images of a tropical paradise everyday. :)

As always thank you for reading!!

1 comment:

  1. I am so excited for you... And really hope we can find a way to come visit.