Hello! My name is MJ Fernandez and I am the teaching fellow for C-290 and today I have been tasked with what I would consider trying to summarize a lifetime. The students often mention this, but on program especially when we are out sailing time becomes very abstract. You all as land folk might think that you know exactly how long 6 hours is, or consider yourself a connoisseur of what, exactly, can be accomplished in 20 minutes, or even be confident in the fact that a day, any day, is exactly 24 hours. However, as your students might soon try to explain to you..none of these things are true. Six hours can feel like 3.5 days when you are standing a watch during a storm and 20 minutes go by very quick when you are trying to get ready for watch at midnight! And friends let me tell you days can be WAAAAY longer or WAAAAY shorter than 24 hrs, depending on what you try to accomplish with them.
Our first day in Grenada felt like one of those WAAAY longer kind of days. We started with an all hands breakfast, did some dishes and quickly began our boat runs to shore to meet our tour guide and start our adventure. Mandoo Seales our trusted guide, interpreter, walking encyclopedia, and of course bus driver met us at the pier and loaded us all up in his tan bus and so our Island tour began. First we went to Concord Falls and dipped our feet in the cold fresh water, learned a little bit about how water is processed and distributed in the island and visited our first of many spice shops.
This was a preview of our next stop, a spice processing facility. Grenada is known as the Spice Island for good reason. They produce all sorts of spices but their greatest pride and biggest export is nutmeg. You might have seen nutmeg as a grounded spice in little plastic bottles at your local store but there is so much more to this amazing powder. We learned how it is harvested, processed and stored and also learned about other spices such as bay leafs and cinnamon. Then Mandoo mentioned what we had all been waiting for CHOCOLATE! We learned about the cacao beans and how they are dried and then drove to one of the few chocolate factories in the country where we learned about how chocolate is made and most importantly got to try all of the different flavors they had. Needless to say I think a few of you might be getting chocolate as a souvenir.that is if we have the power of will not to eat it all.
Then after eating our weight in chocolate we were still hungry somehow, so we drove the northern most part of the island to a beautiful beach and leatherback conservation area and sat to admire the Atlantic Ocean while eating our sandwiches. It was about 1400 and the day was nowhere near over yet! So, we hopped back in the van and drove over to the oldest rum processing facility on island and maybe even the world. We got a tour and got to see how rum is traditionally processed and learned about how they have kept making it in the same way all these years later. Our tour guide for the distillery was an absolute character and we all got some laughs from his stories and facts. Then we were finally off to our last stop!
Are you tired yet? See what I mean, this day was obviously WAAAY more than 24hrs. Our last stop was near a lake at the highest point of the island, we learned a bit about the national park that it was located in and then took a short hike up the hill to a beautiful look out. The hike proved to us that we are definitely in ship shape - because we were all winded after a short 10 minute hike; though I can confirm that our arms are much stronger than when we started! Once again we all piled into the bus and headed off into the sunset. On our drive back to the pier we asked Mandoo about 700 questions about what we had seen and the student's Change Project topics.
Which he answered as he effortlessly drove thru the winding mountain roads.
We all ended the fieldtrip in a flurry of knowledge excited to see what else the island had in store for us over the next few days!
Maria Jose (MJ) Fernandez
PS: Hola familia! Por aqui todo bien.con muchisimas fotos para ensenarles cunado vuelva!