About Me

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I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sweet Sixteen in Cap-Haitien, Haiti

Karley Writing

Today I had the most unique experience ever; I got to spend my 16th birthday in Haiti. We started our journey to a university in the back of a pick-up truck, not knowing exactly what we were going to do, and just going with the flow. After waiting for an hour in a waiting room we were informed we wouldn't be able to do any interaction with the students so we headed to a public school. I was very surprised to learn that this public school held around 6,000 students! The Minister of Education took us around to 3 different classes (mostly grade 13 classes) and we all introduced ourselves and what our purpose was going to be. Our group offered a free program for the rest of the week for those students who wanted to learn English. When Jhonel translated my introductions in each class, he let them know that it was my 16th birthday and the whole class (of around 100 students per classroom) started singing :happy birthday" in English! This was a pretty cool experience, considering that's not the kind of reaction you would get at Elmira high school!  Some students were upset that we didn't visit their classrooms and apparently they were practicing singing "happy birthday" in case we came, but because we just didn't have the time we were unable to visit any more classes. As well as receiving another marriage proposal, I was already considering it a pretty successful day.

A very tired but happy birthday girl!
I wasn't expecting anything else to occur when we got back to the Stella Maris (the place we are staying), considering I had only known my group for 5 days and I didn't expect anything from them. But they took me by surprise and really gave me a birthday to remember, even if it didn't have all the fancy stuff that you can get back in Canada. I came down to the dining room to find out that the Sisters had laid out a special place for me with some flowers in a vase and a special place mat. The group insisted that I sit at the end of the table, since I was the "special guest". Then they all presented me with a card that was signed by everyone; most of the comments complimented me on my skills to nap anywhere at anytime. And finally, they presented me with a delicious looking vanilla cake that the Sisters had made for me that was loaded with icing, alongside some jello. If the group is reading this, I want you to know that I really appreciated your efforts to make me feel welcome in the group, and for making my 16th a birthday that I'll never forget!


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Karley!
Marilyn (Jess's Mom)

Nancy Rafferty said...

Enjoyed reading your story. Happy Birthday. It will undoubtedly be one that will stick out in your memory. I enjoy following your journey.Hopefully you will remain single a while longer. Nancy Rafferty