of the Caribbean
Round the Island
As we make our way round the island, I am struck by the
differences between Grenada and Barbados. Neither country
could be described as rich, but the poverty in Grenada seems
more evident than in Barbados. For the most part, the houses
are small and made of wood, with many of them on such steep
hillsides that one or more corners have to be propped up
precariously on stilts or thin stacks of bricks. We pass
many houses with girls sitting on verandas, having their
hair braided by their mothers, grandmothers, sisters and
aunts, in preparation for church on Sunday and school on
Monday. In other places, I am taken aback by the sight of
women washing clothes in nearby rivers. Having grown up
in a country where everyone has access to running water,
I cannot imagine how difficult life is without such luxuries.
priorities and needs of the average resident of Grenada
are highlighted by their politics. In late 2003, there was
a general election in Grenada, and evidence of the election
is still apparent at the time of our visit six months later-
each party has crudely painted slogans onto walls and roads
that appeal to the most basic human needs
advertising campaigns or niche policies here - instead,
each party seems to be promising better healthcare.
French influence on the island extends to religion, in that
most of the population is Catholic. However, in common with
many Caribbean states, more evangelical Christian denominations
are also popular, and we pass many Seventh-day Adventist
churches bursting at the seams with worshippers attending
the Sabbath services. All of the church-goers are dressed
up for the occasion, with women in hats, men in shirts and
ties, and small girls with satin dresses and hair-ribbons.
I cannot help thinking that, without air-conditioning, going
to church here must be a rather warm affair.
stop for lunch at an old plantation house, where we are
treated to traditional foods. We start with soup made with
callaloo, which is a green vegetable that tastes like a
cross between spinach and watercress. This is followed by
a buffet comprising pepper pot (a stew made with pork),
chicken, rice and peas, breadfruit, plantain, stewed pumpkin,
and christophene pie. Christophenes are not my favourite
vegetable; they don't seem to taste of anything at all.
For dessert, we are served fresh mango with sour sop ice
cream, which is delicious.
If At All