Gearing Up In Grenada: Hamid’s Abroad Life.


October 25, 2019

The first time I heard about the country Grenada was during a now-forgotten Miss World pageant. I haven’t had any real reason to pay any mind to the country since, until very recently when something I was researching had me put Grenada through Google images.

I shouldn’t have.

The image results made me want to pack Nigeria inside Bagco Super sack and just forget it in Ghana’s backyard forever.

Anyway, bitterness to the side, today’s abroad life subject – Hamid, has been living in Grenada for the past two years. We caught up with him to find how life in paradise feels like.

How does it feel waking up every morning and knowing this view is only a few miles away from you?

I won’t lie, this level of ifakanbale (rest of mind) is unmatched! I lived in Lagos before I went to England for my A-levels and undergrad and now Grenada, so I’ve been a bit removed from regular Nigerian craziness for a little bit. But you see this Grenada’s calmness, 10/10 would highly recommend. Down to the people, nobody has stress in this country, they take their time with everything.

        *Jealousy levels start to rise”. 

So for those of us that didn’t watch Miss World growing up, where is Grenada?

Grenada is an island country made up of the Island of Grenada and some smaller Islands. Off the top of my head, I can name two  – Grenada and Carriacou. It’s around the Caribbean Sea, so everything’s just soft.

Even though ‘Sanwo-olu’s face was annoying me’ is a good enough reason to move these days, why are you currently living in Grenada?

School. I’m currently studying medicine at St. George’s University.

Just BTW, how long does it take to get from say Lagos to Grenada? 

This question! So ideally, Lagos to Grenada should be about eleven hours, but there are no direct flights, so it always ends up taking so much longer.

More than half a day on a plane for medical school? When LUTH is just here?
(Just want everyone to know we spent a full minute laughing at this.)

Let’s be serious here, plis dear. So when I say it takes more than 11 hours, here’s what happened when I made my first trip to Grenada. Let’s say I left Lagos on a Sunday, I didn’t get to Grenada until Wednesday.

Say what?

Here’s what happened.

In an ideal world, to get from Lagos to Grenada, you can either go from Lagos to London or Lagos to America, then get a direct flight to Grenada. So I was leaving from the US, and the thing with flying is, if you don’t book on time, flights get really expensive, so I was going to take a connecting flight when I landed Atlanta, to go to New York, then Frankfurt, then Barbados before getting on a final plane to Grenada.

*Jealousy levels reduce a little bit*

See, if my plan went that way, wouldn’t I have been happy? After having a layover of about five hours, I got introduced to what I like to call the Carribean Connecting flight culture (Hamid™).

What’s the Carribean Connecting Flight Culture?

Basically, if you have a connecting flight from the Carribeans, the rule is that your flight is going to be delayed, just take it like that. The exception is that it won’t. And if that isn’t bad enough, because they mostly use small planes, if you’re travelling with two boxes, just know one isn’t leaving the airport with you, like they’ll actually ask you which bag you’ll prefer to have with you when you leave the airport. I picked the one with my clothes because the drip is forever and well, I didn’t want to stink up the place wearing the same clothes over and over. Didn’t get my other box until days after.

Ah.

Ah indeed. So when I got to Barbados, my flight was delayed. When the plane finally arrived, it was meant to go to two places – Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago, with Grenada being the first destination. Ask me the only country it ended up going to, just ask.

Oh no.

Oh no indeed. During the trip, the pilot just announced that they’d only be going to Trinidad, it was like film trick. Four hours at the Trinidadian airport and plenty KFC food vouchers after , courtesy the airline company ⁠— we finally, finally got to Grenada.

A patient king, I stan.

Before we go on, I’d like to go back to the studying in LUTH question. 

Sure thing.

I’ve had the opportunity to shadow Nigerian doctors and I have to say, they should probably practice with capes attached to their coats because they are doing truly remarkable work with so little resources. Nigerian hospitals are painfully under-funded, the doctors here are just trying to make the best out of a system that is continuously failing them. So, if you are in anyway blessed to have the opportunity to study in a country and a system that works, I will always suggest you take that route.

I hear that. So for someone looking to get a visa to Grenada, how will they go about it?

Um, well have your documents first of all, academic records, passport, all of that. Then write a letter to the Grenadian customs maybe a month before. You really don’t need a visa to come to Grenada. I don’t think you —

MY PEOPLE DID YOU HEAR THAT?

Haha. Well at the time I arrived here. Like even my passport just has stamps on it, I didn’t have to apply for a visa. There’s a form to fill when you arrive, and some fees to pay, but I think that’s about it.

Okay. #Grenada2020 let’s see what’s up. 

Let’s take it back 2 years when you first arrived. What were the first three things you liked about Grenada that made you go, ‘Lagos, e go be’?

Hmm. Definitely the sunsets. They are honestly the most beautiful, beautiful things. My phone is filled with pictures of them. Because my school is right by the coast, I get views of the most beautiful sunsets in this life. 

One lie, you didn’t lie about these sunsets.

Haha. After the sunsets, definitely the beaches! See, these Grenadian beaches are good for your health. Throw on your swim gear, head to the beach, any bad mood is cured.

*Stares at summer body. Summer body stares back*

Like this one beach – Grand Anse. It was voted one of the best beaches in the world. Then maybe after that, just being here to study medicine, that would be my third. 

*Jealousy levels dangerously spike*

Now that you’ve been here two years, what are the coolest spots to visit?

Let me see. Definitely Junction. It’s a bar and grill. It turns to a club at night. They play soca music and afrobeats.

Naija to the world!

You say that now, but really all they’ve been doing for two years is playing ‘If’ and ‘Fall’ by Davido. They only started playing ‘Come Closer’ this year and they even cut Wizkid’s part out.

LOL. What?

Yes oh. Then maybe The Dodgy Duck and Umbrella, which are restaurant-type establishments. I’m not one to go to clubs, mostly because their audiences are very em… white. Can’t really be giving them Zanku to Taylor Swift you know.

Indeed you cannot. So you’re pretty much living in Heaven while we’re here struggling with Road Safety. We can’t have that. What’s the inside gist on the worst parts of living in Grenada? 

Let’s see. Shipping costs! Oh my God, it is so expensive to ship anything here. Say you get an iPhone for $1000, just know you’re going to spend like $500 clearing it.

What did you say?!

No joke. Then electronics are unreasonably expensive here. Just smuggle them in if you can. And lastly, they drive like crazy people here. Which is extra scary because the roads are very narrow and hilly so it’s just hard to reconcile with the jeje lifestyle everyone lives. Like they literally rush everywhere, just to get to their destinations and resume their quiet lives. Blows my mind. 

*Jealousy levels return to a respectable level*

But how’s schooling there?

Pretty good. There’s a healthy mix of people. A lot of Canadians, Americans, some Batswana on scholarship from their government. Of course a lot of Nigerian students are here as well, so that’s always a plus. Facilitators too, which are like lecturers, but for study groups. A lot of them are Nigerian.

How come so many people are moving to an island country for medical school?

The thing about St. George University is, it’s a US accredited school. Of all non-US schools, it has about the highest success rate of providing a pathway for doctors looking to practice in the US and also the UK.

Got it. And how are classes?

Pretty intense.I am currently in Term five, which is pretty much the final lap before I take one of the biggest exams of my life  in February, which will determine if I can have my residency in the US. So I’ve been through Term 1-4 here, where we learnt the foundation of medicine and anatomy. Oh something cool happened this week actually.

Tell me!

I worked in orthopaedics this week, and I took patient history, which is important because our school usually brings in standardised patients, meaning people without symptoms, learning props almost. So working on real-life patients was a real thrill.

Okay, I’m about to put you on the spot here, just helping you prep for that big exam. What do you do when a person is choking?

Check to see if the area is safe to approach, then ask them to cough. After that, look in their mouth to see what’s obstructing the airway. If you can see it, ask them to cough, if they can’t, finger sweep, try to get it out.

Ew.

 Be ew-ing there. Be careful you don’t push it further back in. If not, go behind them, make a fist, put it infront of them above their belly button, take the other hand behind that, then do an in and up motion to try to get them to bring up the object blocking their airway. All of this if they’re conscious. ..there’s  a whole other procedure where they’re not.

Doctor Doctor!

Haha. Awa niyen! 

So what’s the plan after Grenada?

I’m looking to go to the US for my residency. I have more family there, so it’d be nice to be closer to them. I’ll do my clinical rotations there, take the Step 2 exams, and use that to apply for residency programme in whatever specialty I’m looking towards. I’m currently considering internal medicine or neurology. We’ll see.

I have to say, this doesn’t sound like green passport energy. Perchance sir, what is the colour of your booklet?

It’s greener than green. Doctors just have a high demand over there, plus I have visiting history to the US and clearly I’m coming for school, so it isn’t very likely that my visa will be denied.

From your mouth to God’s ears, all the best Doc!

Thanks!

Want more Abroad Life? Check in every Friday at 12 PM (WAT) for a new episode. Until then, read every story of the series here.

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