“How could you leave big big Jamaica and go and live in one of those small islands?” Grenada, the small island I chose, measures just 12 miles west to east and 21 miles north to south. In 1997, this Jamaican added to Grenada’s population of approximately one hundred or so thousand people at the time. Originally intending to spend two years then move on, 18 years later, Grenada is still captivating and feels like home.
Here are five reasons why living in Grenada is great.
- Almost no crime
When Grenada had 18 murders in 2008, a few eyebrows were raised. Normal annual homicide statistics are usually between 8 and 12. In fact, during 2004 when Hurricane Ivan hit, only six persons lost their lives by murder.
Stories of drive-by shootings, doors being kicked open by marauding gunmen and quadruple murders have not occurred in Grenada during my years of living here. Sure, there is petty crime like house robberies and other theft, however, criminals are quickly caught. There are many Grenadians who do not know where their house key is, because they have not used it in years!
After walking to a concert one night, when I was ready to leave at 3:30 next morning, I wondered how I would get home. Then, remembering I was in Grenada, I walked. That was liberating.
- Everywhere is near
That might sound trivial, however, it has its advantages. For example, the tourism belt is located in the South West in the parish of St George. Due to the island’s small size, persons can live in St Patrick in the far north and travel from there to work and back home daily. This means they do not have to incur additional expense by renting in St George. Forgot something at home? It will not take you a year and a day to go get it. With everything being near, it means too that a great beach is just a hop, skip and a jump away.
- The road network is good
This was a pleasant surprise. The quality of the roads is quite good and potholes are rarely seen. If one surfaces, it is filled quickly. That there are few directional signs is not worth commenting on. It is rumoured that the excuse given is that the authorities want you to stop and speak to people!
- Fruits and vegetables are in abundance….and cheap
For fruit and vegetable lovers, Grenada is paradise. Most Grenadians grow these items in their backyard, organically. Agricultural Science is a popular subject in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination. Moving from Kingston Jamaica, where you picked up fruits and vegetables not knowing how most were grown, it has been an education to see that Clove starts as a flower and that the cabbage head is nestled within protective leaves.
- Grenadians are civil and hospitable
On a 1995 vacation here, the Grenadians who I encountered on a walk to the bus stop must have thought me rude. As each of them passed in my direction, I heard “good morning.” Thinking they were calling to someone behind me, I did not initially answer. Then when I realized they were indeed speaking to me, I was thrilled. It is something which still happens and when you ask Grenadians about what their parents or grandparents instilled in them growing up, invariably the response includes “don’t pass people without saying good day.”
The civility is noticed on the road too. Honking horns are almost non-existent. If one is heard, it is usually a bus. Drivers do not bore, well, except some of those younger bus drivers.
Grenadians are the most naturally hospitable and kind people I have encountered in travel to 15 Caribbean islands. They give freely and want to ensure that you are “ok.” The offer of a ride if you do not have transportation, a gift of a hand of bananas from their crop or granting of special favours continues to be a tradition. The hope is that this will continue for many years to come.
By Michelle McDonald
Michelle L. McDonald has been writing since her teenage years, when she started posting entries in her diary. Since then, she has developed this hobby into becoming a Features writer and Blogger. Since 2003, her work has been published in the Jamaica Gleaner, SHE Caribbean and on www.caribbeancricket.com profiling International cricketers and writing “off the field” features from the Caribbean and the United Kingdom.
On www.yamfoot.net Michelle posts candid stories about living in the Caribbean. Professionally, she is a freelance Service/HR Advisor and Trainer and is based in Grenada and Jamaica, although she considers all of the Caribbean her home.