Two weeks after the hurricane hit, we were there.
Grenada was an important port for me, because it gave me experience and prepared me for the kind of work I’m doing now.
While my co-workers were busy rebuilding, I went with a team to investigate the devastation and put together some collateral material that we would use over and over in the coming months.
Observing life on what had been a deeply vibrant community, brought home the complete chaos that a simple act of nature could bring.
In Grenada, life with always be referred to a pre-Ivan and post-Ivan. Just a year later, Katrina would hit New Orleans, and a new sort of chaos would be revealed there. But in the aftermath, the water and the sunshine and the damage and the blue plastic tarps wove a new kind of beauty.
And after we’d patch what we could patch, framed what we could frame and encouraged those we could encourage, we prepared to leave for Africa. We left behind a community that was stronger, and we left behind good friends.
That evening, sitting on the quayside listening to a steel drum band play us off, I relaxed in the hard work and friendship that had come from those days. We were tiredly happy, and expecting great things from the unknown new continent we would encounter next. It was an unknown, yet somewhere I’d long wanted to go and long studied. With the comforting warmth of a Caribbean night on my skin, and good friends seated around, chills suddenly ran down my spine as the delicate chimes of the steel drums began to play Toto’s Africa.
I hear the drums echoing tonight …
The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation
I stopped an old man along the way,
Hoping to find some old forgotten words or ancient melodies
He turned to me as if to say, Hurry boy, It’s waiting there for you
It’s gonna take a lot to take me away from you
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never have
And with that, the steel drums faded out. We climbed up the gangway and pulled up the mooring lines. We were off, crossing the ocean to AFRICA.