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OAS/GNT Sustainable Heritage Endorsement Programme

PHOTOVOICE PROMPT #5: Lost & Found

What do you see here? (Addressed to the whole group)

Green banana    –     Rubber band     –     Pumpkin

Provision skin     –     Dry soil     –     Green leaves

Galvanize (parallel lines)    –      Nail head     –     Straw

Fern     –     Shade     –     Vine

Wood     –     Rust     –     Cane peel

Brown     –     Circles     –     Flower stalks

Dry leaves    –      Ripe bananas    –      Blue paper

Why did you take this photo? (Addressed to the photographer)

This photograph reveals that Grenadians are becoming more educated in regards to composting and using more organic foods, which contribute to better health. For a while with the influx of processed foods and foreign influences, Grenadians seem to have moved away from eating healthy meals. Instead they started to consume the guilty pleasures of KFC’s fried chicken and Subway’s foot-long sandwiches. But lately, the practices of backyard farming and organic consumption have been revived.

What is really happening here? (Addressed to the whole group—alternatively what does the photograph represent?)

On the surface “Soil’s Salary” represents decay or spoilage, whether it is regarding Grenada’s cultural, economic, or social perspective. While Grenada seems to be on a cultural incline as far as the ways in which different races and cultures co-exist peacefully on the island, Grenada is also struggling with economic corruption at all levels: from the highest echelons to the lowest ranks. These widespread pockets of corruption, then, spill over into the social realm and damage some, if not all, Grenadians’ reputations and their livelihoods. Specifically, glimpses of financial corruption in Grenada are highlighted in the local newspapers on a weekly, if not a daily, basis as a means of exposing cultural shame. Furthermore, the vines lying in the compost are representative of complications as well as connections. For instance, Grenada’s sense of culture is one that is highly complex, because the island-nation revolves around a melting pot of borrowed cultures—all mixed up in either one package or on several platforms as forms of subcultures. Surely, the vine’s complexity can also affect Grenada’s fiscal stability in that too many people competing against one another in a tight space in a short period of time might not always yield win-win scenarios for all of the parties involved. It is inevitable, then, that some folks will win, while others will lose, which is related to both (Mother) Nature and (human) nature. Concerning the role of the vines as forms of connections, like the bonding role that culture plays in its association with socio-economic issues, so too, the vines represent Grenada’s sense of self-expression and communication as it takes into account the ideas and values of others whom it comes in contact with. On another level, composting is associated with paying back the earth in the form of nourishment. And, to a large extent, because compost is made up of various waste materials, it is signifies diversity, which infers that all of the interactions that take place within the composting process are associated with the concept of different things working together for the greater good of everyone. Furthermore, composting can also be seen as a positive influence concerning Grenada’s financial situation. That is, the same way that the compost goes through a transitional phase as it shifts from being a waste product to becoming an agricultural product (or organic fertilizer), so too, Grenada’s dire economic problems might be going through extended rough patches in the interim in order to be improved upon later on. Still yet, the spoilage in the compost heap implies that something positive can come from something negative. Certainly, this negative to positive spin alludes to the idea of the old giving birth to the new, which once again, is symbolic to the dynamic nature of both life and culture and of both social and economic affairs. By all means, these four entities are always fluctuating. That is, they are always altering themselves in more ways than one like shape-shifting chameleons.

PHOTO Title: Soil’s Salary

Photograph Location: Clozier, St. John’s

Photographer: Iva Williams

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