I was inspired by the GenWell Project and Centennial College’s #GenConnect campaign to reach out to my grandmother, Emma who lives in Jamaica. The last time we spoke was Christmas Day 2019. I’ve been so busy studying in Canada that I haven’t been able to check-in with her. After studying and working from home for months I started missing my family and friends back home.

The GenConnect campaign inspired me to call my grandmother and let her know how much I missed her. We had two conversations over the course of two weeks for a total of one hour. We spoke about missing family, our friends and her childhood. We also did yoga stretches. We did poses like stretching our hands in the air and using our fingers to touch our toes. After our stretch we spoke about how taking care of eachother and our physical and mental health can help us get through the pandemic. I recorded yoga instructions and sent her. I thought it would be a fun reminder for her to have. Here is a link to part of the recording​.

“Yanique, taking care of our physical health is the best way to get through this pandemic,” she said. “I have been eating healthy food my whole life and that’s why I can still do those stretches. I survived the H2N2 influenza in the 1950s and other health scares because of my faith and healthy eating habits. Food is my medication. A healthy body, a healthy mind and loved ones to talk to are all I need to get me through this time,” she continued.

At the end of our conversation she said she wants me to check-in with her regularly during COVID-19 and let her know what I have been up to. She said she loved reconnecting with me and that each conversation was the highlight of her day. Her words touched my heart and we had an emotional moment. Our conversations made me happy and I know they made her happy as well.

As I end my story, I realized that even though I have been working with The GenWell Project for the last few months, the message did not strike me until I took action myself. It’s important for all of us to know we can make other people happy by having a conversation. It makes us happier as well. I know the research shows that these conversations have health benefits for both of us. It’s amazing I didn’t realize this until now. Thank you GenWell for the inspiration to reach out and be part of making the world a happier and healthier place one virtual conversation at a time.