The climate is changing, are you?

By 3:34 PM ,

My current job had enabled me the opportunity to part-take in the preparation and to be a participant in a walk event. The UNDP-ICCAS (United Nations Development Programme - Integrated Climate Change Adaptation Strategies) in collaboration with others such as GIZ, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Petite Martinique and Carriacou affairs hosted a Climate Change walk. The first one was hosted the day after my birthday, May 30th. The last two in Petite Martinique and Carriacou were hosted on the 25th and the 26th of June respectively.

It was a lot more work than I anticipated, a lot of responsibility and required quite a bit of planning. Prior to this, I never realized the importance of prioritizing with a check-list down to the smallest items, like toothpicks and tissue paper. Thankfully, it was a learning experience which we were able to pull off smoothly with grace as a team. All three endeavours were successful. In Grenada, we had at least 800+ people in attendance of the walk, and in the two smaller islands, 300+ at minimum.

I wish I could say in detail how everything went beyond my responsibilities but I can't. In abstract, what one envisions on the day and placement, ultimately results in following up and focusing on delegated responsibilities and ensuring your part is done so that the whole thing flows as it should. With that said, the only walk I was able to get a snippet of the crowd experience was in Petite Martinique.

Sheena and I at our booths with the Grenada MPA (Marine Protected Area) tattooes on our cheeks.

We had exhibtions, display booths and fun activities for children at the end of each walk. In the Grenada walk, I was responsible for securing the delicious lion fish samples. What is lion fish you ask? It's an fish native to the Indian/Pacific ocean that has managed to make the Caribbean its home too. The problem with it adopting a new residence is that the ecosystem is different to where it came from. The sea life found in Caribbean waters have that island life personality too where they're not in a hurry to attack... whereas in the Pacific, similar species are much more aggressive. The nice, friendly nature of our fish have made it the perfect environment for the lion fish to be prolific and thrive, and with no predator to keep populations in check - they eat everything. Thus, while it's all great being a lion fish chilling in the Caribbean, it hurts our Caribbean marine ecosystem, including our reefs.

Lion fish (image from wikicommons)
As you can see in the picture above, it's a very pretty fish. However, the spines extending from the body are mostly poisonous. I say mostly because not every spine can hurt you... but who really has time under water to try and figure out which not to poke at. A prick from the spine won't kill you but it'll make you feel like impending death with pain in the location of the prick. Hence, most locals are hesitant to even go close to it. I remember once spearfishing with Chuck and my friend Jeremy, and Jeremy pointed out a lion fish to Chuck and his immediate reaction was to head in the opposite direction as if just looking would mean he'd get hurt. With that fear comes distrust of consuming the fish. The flesh is actually fine to eat - the poison is only in the spines of the fins.

With the climate changing whether we like it or not, we don't need our fragile ecosystems compromised at a faster rate with lion fish. Hence, we had booths designated for awareness and in Grenada, sampling, so that people could become aware of how absolutely delicious this fish is and let the predator become a controlled prey.

We were able to secure and enlist the help of a few dive shops and Ministry of Fisheries to acquire some lion fish, as well as enlist a few chefs from a few hotels to prepare some delectable sample dishes.

Fried lion fish from Flamboyant Hotel

Baked lion fish from Flamboyant Hotel

Sher dropped in and volunteered her assistance, along with a few other volunteers, with organizing and serving the samples while I dashed out ever so often to collect more samples.

Sher serving samples from Le Chateau restaurant and Spice Island Beach Resort

Myself, Sheena, Curllan(part of the UNDP team) and Wayne(the one squeezing in the middle, it's
been a while since his face made guest appearance on my blog lol)

And then........ off to Carriacou we went via SVG plane. This has to be the smallest plane I've ever traveled on. It was an interesting experience to say the least. However, the mere fact that I traveled there and back by plane proves that it's perfectly safe and secure means of traveling between the islands.

Getting ready to leave from Grenad in this tiny plane

Heading down the runway

...And we're off!

And then we landed at the smallest airport I've ever landed at.

Airport in Carriacou

Upon arrival, we promptly got down to work assisting with preparations with the rest of the team that was already in Carriacou. The office was at the building below, which is literally right next door to the airport runway. I believe the field is used for sporting activities like cricket. Later on that evening, I saw some young men doing what appeared to be boxing training on part of the grounds. I had been to Carriacou prior to this trip, but I did not get an adventurous tour of the place so this was my first time seeing many of the things I did, including this area for sports and other ministry offices.

Afterwards, we headed to our hotel to check in and go to our respective rooms, rest up and prepare for the exciting and long day ahead.

In my room at Ade's Dream, waiting to start my day.

The hallway of my floor, leading to a nice little patio area.
(Aside from the little verandah in my room)

The view from the patio

And once the day was in full swing for work, we headed down the road in that direction of the picture above, to get aboard Chez Charmagne to head with all our gear and goodies for the walk in Petite Martinique. There are so many little islands between and around Carriacou and Petite Martinique. I don't think I got perfect snapshots of all.

Leaving Carriacou...

Leaving Carriacou...

Leaving Carriacou...

And then we arrived in Petite Martinique

That's Petite St. Vincent in the back of me... and that pesky Sargasso seaweed floating in the water.

Petite St. Vincent in the foreground... followed by Palm Island in the middle and Union Island on the far end.

We reach!

Upon arrival, after all of us first-timers got our photo-op with the 'Welcome to Petite Martinique' sign, we proceeded to get down to work and prepare for the walk. We went to the school that permitted us use of the premises for our display and fun activities, and set up the relevant booths. We got the water bottles in the tub and covered them with ice. We got all the goodies out (giveaways) and spread them on the tables and then.... headed to Millenium Connection for my favorite time of day - food time!

They had these really cool artsy attachments to the inside of the roof.

Lunch was served - yummy fried fish with potato salad, beans, pumpkin,
rice, potato salad and fried plantain.

And then headed back to base to get ready for the rest of the day. The photo below is a picture of the layout of the room. We had four standing banners, a lionfish display section with material from Deefer Dive Shop, giveaways from UNDP - mini-notebooks, stickers, bumper stickers, pens, etc - and Ministry of Fisheries - hand bands and temporary tattoes.

Part of the lion fish display section with photos of the lion fish, preparation of the fish and finished dishes. The hand bands from Min. of Fisheries above and information sheet on ICCAS GIZ & UNDP.

The table of giveaways and goodies...!

I had to stay at base to keep the merchandise safe and ready for when it was ready to be distributed after the walk. The walk commenced at 3pm. For this trip, my responsibility was within my forte and uber fun - face painting with the kiddos! Seeing that this task was for the end of the walk, when everyone made it back, and the route wasn't too long, it's the only walk out of the three that I was able to run away, be a part of the crowd and feel the energy.

Perhaps, due to the fact that this was the one time I had the time and was in a position to interact more with the people, I found it surprising how aware folks were to existing issues on the island. The fascination wasn't solely with acquiring whatever merchandise was being given away, but genuine capitalization of the opportunity to meet with the UNDP team and discuss areas that need to be focused upon in Petite Martinique. I engaged in conversations about the need for climate-smart agricultural practices and the existing state of the other side of the Piton mountain with its poisonous plants. I was both impressed and pleased. It's those moments that give one a sense of purpose and a reminder that at the end of the day, we're going something good and real here.

As soon as I heard the sounds of the truck approaching, I dashed outside to snap a photo. One of my teammates, Dawne, allowed me to swap places with her, so I could join Naz and Kadi on the water van following the crowd.

The appraoching truck and crowd

Following the tail end of the crowd.

A random bar along the route - See? Petite Martinique has entertainment too!

Guess who found downs in PM?

The view from the back of the van when I looked yonder...

The Grenada MPA temporary tattooes

Facepainting on cheeks.. one of the few shots I managed to
capture while things were going slow.

More temporary tatts...

A few of the famous sheep of Petite Martinique!

I painted on myself too! Froggie says, "Hello!"

And then we got ready to head back to Carriacou to regroup and prepare for the next day's event.

Sunset in Petite Martinique

Leaving Petite Martinique

Leaving P.M.

Leaving P.M.

That evening, we went out to celebrate the success of the walk in Petite Martinique and have some delicious pizza at the Lazy Turtle restaurant. We had 6 pizzas in all. It was truly a different experience in that I ate toppings I never previously paired nor considered such as black olives and lambie. It was all so good. I lost track of many slices I had eaten. At the end of the night, all I knew was that I was fully satiated.

Getting ready to head out.

At the Lazy Turtle, there was steps leading down to the beach.

Naz and I taking selfies while we waited on the pizza to arrive.

The menu!

And then it began... the first two to arrive at the table

The next day, Dawne and I were based at the field to get everything sorted and ready for when the walk reached.

If ever you're in Carriacou on a Sunday, and you wanted breakfast, and everywhere was closed... This cute, hard to miss little bar/restaurant called "Lady Bug" is there to save the day! They serve fried stuff, stewed stuff and even eggs and coffee.

We had a lot of time on our hands, waiting for the walk to reach, so we decided to spell out UNDP in the keyrings. We were very proud and pleased with ourselves with our artistic moment.

More face painting!

Myself posing with the banner!

The walk finally arrived to the field.

Sheena indulging me with showing froggie some love too...!

Night before departure.

Back on the plane, heading home.

Leaving Carriacou.

East coast of Grenada.

For those of you reading my post, not from Grenada but considering visiting, and those of you who live here... we now have an map app for the tri-island state! It's called "iLandguide Grenada" and available in both the Apple Store and the Playstore. Now you have no excuses for getting lost. But I did though, I found out about this app when I got back.. so ha!

Love and light,

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  1. Didn't know about the app. How lovely. Glad the walk was a continued success :)