My learning journey to Grenada started well before I even reached the island. While in the Montreal airport making the best of a five hour delay due to weather I bonded with “a family” of travelers all leaving Montreal and heading to Barbados. Howard and Pat travelling with Nana (who just turned 100 the day before) have been leaving Montreal in January every year for the past 47 years to enjoy the sun and relaxation of Barbados. They shared many of their adventures and recommendations for places to eat. I learned that Barbados has one of the best water systems in the Caribbean and Howard swears it is better than water in Montreal. Shirley was original from Barbados and returns home for a visit in the winter each year, though now that she is retired she spends January-May home in Barbados and Andrew, a Polish Holocaust survivor, has a son and grandson who call Barbados home and he visits regularly. This extremely diverse group shared many stories, looked out for one another and bid each other fond farewell and best wishes upon arrival in Barbados. Although the delay resulted in me missing my connecting flight to Grenada the opportunity to meet these wonderful people was a gift.
Grenada met me with much warmth from the sun and wind as well as the people. I survived the perils of Grenadian driving on the most narrow of streets (two lanes of traffic navigating lanes no larger than a single lane on most Nova Scotian roads) winding and circling our way across the mountainous island. Arriving at Coyaba Hotel (native for heavenly) my home for the upcoming week, midafternoon on Sunday I took in the sunshine, beautiful white sand beach over a kilometer long and clear view of Saint Georges nestled at the mouth of the harbor at the foot of several peaks. After a short rest I was ready to begin working with my fellow colleagues to prepare for the delivery of “Assessing and Evaluating Adult Learning” to our counterparts from T.A. Marryshow College.
I discovered that the course was to take place at the National Cricket Stadium and I have visions of open air classrooms situated around the field but the stadium was a lovely surprise. Along with an open air promenade we had several rooms (with the dreaded air conditioning) allotted for the course. The resources were quite limited (old fashioned one piece single person desks) but these did not impact the enthusiasm and quality of learning. Along with the Grenadian participants (coming from a wide range for programs) we had an energetic woman from Jamaica join the group. The week flew by as we moved through the course quickly establishing a separation from assessing for formative purposes to evaluating for summative purposes. Our Grenadian counterparts dove into the course which sparked many discussions of integration into their professional practice. Along with the many educational conversations and experiences the sweetness of the mango and heat of ginger-beer linger with me. Friendships and connections blossomed and I take away an understanding of Grenada and the Caribbean’s greatest treasures, the people.
This was my first experience with the wonderful work NSCC International facilitates for NSCC and I can’t say enough regarding the professionalism, planning and thoroughness of the project. The importance of both sharing the richness of the NSCC knowledge and experience as well as increasing our international understanding speaks to community connection from both a local and global view. I feel very privileged to have participated in this amazing opportunity and would encourage others to look for opportunities to support and participate in NSCC Internationals activities as often as possible.
Acting Dean, School of Access
Nova Scotia Community College