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A month in the life of Hannah Reddick

A month in the life of Hannah Reddick ('03) who has just completed her second year in Guinea (West Africa) as a Peace Corps volunteer.

"February was my busiest month so far. From the 9th to the 14th, we had our annual Girls’ Conference. Basically, it is a four-days event where we talk about the importance of staying in school, the dangers of excision (female genital mutilation), HIV/AIDS, women’s rights, and the environment. Each volunteer brought two high school girls from his/her village to take part in the conference…we had 30 girls total. We did a day where the girls went and interviewed professional women in Boke, and then they gave presentations about the women. In my opinion, the conference was a success and probably the most satisfying activity of my service thus far. Many of these girls had never been out of their villages or their regions. Many had never been encouraged to be something other than a wife and mother. The two girls from my village were anxious to get back to Hamdallaye and share what they had learned. It was quite a rewarding experience. After the conference, I organized a girl’s football game and AIDS day in my village. I trained a group of young people to give skits in local language. I bought jerseys for the girls’ team (they started training back in December and many of the girls actually got pretty good) and invited lots of people to attend. It was quite a challenge getting my peer educators (the young people I trained) together, and there were a lot more headaches in the project than I could have ever imagined. But the important thing is that the soccer game and the AIDS part went off without a hitch. In the afternoon, the girls played against another nearby girls’ team…sadly, we lost, but it was due to our not-so-good (ie: REALLY bad) goalie who couldn’t handle the penalty shots. In the evening, we showed an HIV/AIDS movie at the local video club…it was in French, but we had about 50 people from the village come to watch. After the movie, we had a discussion to find out what they had learned and answer their questions about AIDS. That was awesome! Then, my peer educators gave their skits…once again, a success!!! It was such an exciting thing to see…I got goose bumps just seeing these young people willing to get up in front of their peers and parents and talk about sex and how to prevent HIV.

We had another vaccination campaign…working with three other people, we vaccinated 676 kids in one day! I was definitely tired at the end of that day. I also gave a diarrhea presentation at the primary school…that was a lot of fun and I want to start doing more of that. My village was also chosen to launch a program to give scholarships to 5th and 6th grade girls…the program was put in place by the US embassy. The American ambassador came to my village…it was a REALLY big deal (see the pictures).
Early March, I participated in the Boys’ Conference…I took a boy from my village to Mamou (middle of Guinea…10 hours and 4 taxis from my village). This conference was similar to the girls’, but we put a lot more emphasis on the relationships between men and women. The most memorable session for me was when I got to show the boys how to use a computer. How many times in my life am I going to sit with a group of boys who have never seen a computer in their life? You should have seen their faces…another goose bumps moment. More and more, I am settling into my life here and loving it!"

--Hannah Reddick ‘03

Anne Stevens

You want to live in France for a year after graduating and could teach English, but don't know how to do it. Here is the answer for you: apply for a Teaching Assistantship awarded by the French Government. Anne Stevens ('03) was in France for the school year 2004-05.

“After graduating in May with a double major in business management and French, I decided to return to France. I had spent my junior year in Dijon and Paris, but I still wanted to improve my French skills. The application for an assistantship is due in December, but the acceptance letter is not received until mid-May! After this long wait, I was accepted for the program that begins in October.

We are given several choices where we would like to be placed; I was placed in the very north of France in a small city of 40,000 inhabitants called Douai. Douai is a half-hour train ride from Lille, and only an hour from Paris, Belgium, and London. I have already been to Paris several times, and also to Gent, Belgium. Lille is the cultural capital of Europe for 2004, so there are plenty of concerts, plays, and art exhibits. The closing festival was in mid-November with a huge parade, fireworks, and dancing in the streets until dawn.
During the week, I work about twelve hours in the classroom, and then prepare activities with my own time. With most classes, I am given a small group, or up to half the class, in order to allow them more time to speak out loud. Since I am in a high school, it can be hard to motivate the students, so lessons must be entertaining and interesting. The past few weeks I’ve been teaching about Thanksgiving, and will soon start with American Christmas traditions. Students are very interested in American traditions and the differences between French and American schools, so bringing in pictures and yearbooks from home are very useful.

I was lucky enough to be given housing by the school, even if it is in a high school! In France, students often live at the school during the week because the commute is too far. The city is large enough so there is some shopping, and a large cinema and bowling alley, but I spend most weekends in Lille and Paris with other assistants and friends.”

-Anne Stevens ‘03

Where were They ?

Spring 2004
Bast, Anne CIEE Rennes
Hutchins, Kelly IES Nantes
Martynowicz, Bethany IES Nantes
Meeter, Anneke SIT Morocco: Culture
Reese, Octavia CIEE Rennes
Shedd, Ryan CIEE Rennes
Williams, Kyle CIEE Rennes=

Fall 2004

Dustin, Holly IES Nantes
Edwards, Elise IES Nantes
Gardner, Sarah SIT Mali
Henn, Cayla CIEE Rennes
Ludewig, Kathleen SIT Switzerland
Quesada-Lubbers, Sarah IES Nantes
Sann, Pannha SIT Madagascar

Spring 2005
Arpke, Laura IES Nantes
Clum, Courtney IES Nantes
Dustin, Holly IES Nantes
Edwards, Elise IES Paris
Janofski, Heather IES Nantes
Miller, August SIT Morocco
Orefice, Victoria IES Nantes
Quesada-Lubbers, Sarah IES Paris
Reese, Sarah IES Nantes
Smith, Rachael IES Dijon

Kudos to our Majors and Minors!
(Honors and Awards of French Majors and Minors)

During the annual Honors Convocation on April 22nd 2004, many French majors and minors received awards in various disciplines. Kristin M. Stanton received the First-Year Chemistry Book Award and Octavia M. Reese obtained the Stephenson First-Year Writing Prize. Also, the Elizabeth Vanderbush Award in Education was offered to Jonathan D. Paulus and Justin A. Rose while the Phi Alpha Theta Sophomore Book Award went to Holly A. Dustin. In French, Heather L. Hahn won the Linda D. Palmer Memorial Award in French and Scott F. Dalessandro was awarded the Marguerite Prins French Award. The Music Department offered the Sophomore Nursing Award to Karie De Young, the Political Science Department honored Matthew A. Schwieger with the Political Science Department Book Award, while the Psychology Department gave the C. James Stringer Jr. Memorial Award to Hanna M. Thurston. New inductees to the Mortar Board included Laura S. Ellis, Kelley K. Hutchins, Andrew D. Mercer, Jonathan D. Paulus, and Matthew A. Schwieger. We would also like to recognize the following students for their achievements: Jennifer L. Paulus who was given the Award for Outstanding Account Student, Kim N. Daelhousen laureate of the Sandrene Schutt Award for Proficiency in Literature, Heather L. Hahn who won the Tulip City Gem and Mineral Club Award, and Brian L. Murphy who was given theBiology Department’s Senior Sigma Xi Research Award. Also, Amanda A. Dykstra won the prestigious Academy of American Poets Awards while Heather L. Hahn was awarded the all-campus M. Harold Mikle Prize for Communication. Finally, we would like to congratulate Lauren R. Hinkle for winning the extremely competitive Southland Medal (Gerrit H. Albers Gold Medal). Once again, congratulations to all!

“Sensibilisation” in Cameroon

Most often, I was asked “Why are you going to Africa to speak French, why don’t you just go to France?” Before I left, my answer was that I would go to France someday, but I won’t have many opportunities to go to Cameroon. But now after my experience in Africa, I have many more reasons.

I spent the Fall of 2003 in Cameroon, West/Central Africa with a program through the School for International Training (SIT). The program began with an orientation in the small village of Fongo-Tongo, which was a welcoming introduction to the country. For one month, the 14 other American students and I stayed in Dschang with home stay families, taking classes about Cameroon History and Culture, French, and Drumming during the day. We also had the opportunity for many weekend excursions, camping in mountains and visiting villages nearby. We then spent much of the second month traveling to the Northern Province, staying with home stay families again in the largely Islamic city of N’gaoundere, and seeing the vast array of geography in Cameroon. I lived in mountains, desert, rainforest, and savanna within weeks of each other; and experienced the muddy puddles of the rainy season, and the red dust of the dry. We visited the famous sunsets of Rumsiki, the cloth markets of Maroua, and tasted our first Cameroonian ice cream in Garoua. Our travels ended in the capital city of Yaounde. Throughout this time, we learned a lot about the culture and economy of Cameroon, but more importantly, talked to and lived with the people. I learned to speak limited amounts of Fulfulde, Hausa, and Yembe

For my final month, I completed an Independent Study project, for which I was able to choose my own topic and location of study and go by myself and learn from people. I stayed in the village of Keleng in the mountainous area of Dschang. I lived with the Chief of the village and his family, and spent my days working at the Centre de Santé Fometa. The highlight of my stay was volunteering in a vaccination campaign against measles during which I distributed Vitamin A to children. I spent the days walking from village to village, school to school with the nurses of the health center, spreading health. I wrote my final paper on the “Sensibilisation” (education) that must take place to tell the truth about the vaccinations before a campaign is able to take place.

This experience led me to come back to the USA with a new goal, to be a nurse. After finishing my degree in Sociology and French at Hope College, I am now attending Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore for an Accelerated BSN program. Hopefully in a year, I will be a certified nurse finding another way to return to help the people of Cameroon.

--Mindy Phillips ’04


French Faculty Activity

Professeur Anne R. Larsen
Anne Larsen enjoyed a June trip to Paris where she visited area chateaux such as Vaux-le-Vicomte and read early printed books at the new Bibliothèque Nationale de France. She visited former native assistant Cécile (Bourreau) Fernandes (‘99-‘00) who teaches at Reuil-Malmaison. Anne published an article on the French translation of the educational writings of the seventeenth-century Dutch scholar Anne Marie de Schurman, whose French letters she is currently editing during her sabbatical leave at UCLA.

Professeur Brigitte Hamon-Porter

Professor Hamon-Porter spent her spring sabbatical in Montpellier, France. She rediscovered French ordinary life with the morning stops at the bakery and the beautiful scenery of the south of France. She worked on three articles on Dassoucy and Tristan L’Hermite and researched a new topic: the Affair of the Muslim Scarf in France.

Professeur Isabelle Chapuis-Alvarez

In the summer of 2004, Professor Chapuis-Alvarez set out to gather pictures and interviews of people of various backgrounds in France, Belgium, and Québec for her forthcoming textbook on French culture: Le français, ça vous chante?. She also did extensive research at the Bibliothèque Nationale and the Institut de L’Audiovisuel (INA) to complement her subject area. This was not only a valuable experience, but will also aid her to dismantle some of the prevailing stereotypes in her new book through authentic accounts of contemporary life in France and the Francophone world.

Professeur Vicki L. DeVries

Ms. DeVries continues work on her doctoral thesis on female Pygmalion figures in French literature. She is currently concentrating her efforts on Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions and George Sand’s François le Champi. In addition to her research and her courses at Hope, she is developing a French program at South Christian High School in Grand Rapids.

Une page de poésie…

Ma Chère Iseut,

Oh, Iseut la Blonde qui a les cheveux d’or. Oh, reine de mon cœur.
Pour la reine de mon cœur seulement les tissus et les soies les plus luxueux
Seulement les parfums qui sentent le plus doux
Parce que les plus belles fleurs diminueraient à votre côté
Pour vous, amie, tous les oiseaux chantent
Je ne sais pas quelle force m’a donné cette fièvre pour vous,
Mais je lui rends grâce mille fois chaque jour
Je sais que, maintenant, j’étais perdu avant de vous connaître
Même si nous sommes séparés,
Je ne cesserai jamais de penser à vous et à votre amour
Si notre liaison est maudite,
Je donnerai ma vie pour vous sauver
Notre amour est, peut-être, un amour défendu
Mais il est très fort—il endurera jusqu’à la fin des temps. ~Tristan

-Ellie Bentley ('06 )


Il y a la France, la Suisse, la Belgique
Mais mon pays francophone favori est en Afrique
Situé sur la mer Méditerranée, loin de Paris
Ce pays que j’aime c’est l’Algérie

Depuis 1830, l’Algérie a été contrôlée par la France
Jusqu’en 1962 l’année de l’indépendance
Pendant huit longes années, il y eut une guerre
Avant que les Algériens ne récupèrent leur terre

En Algérie, la religion commune est l’Islam
Quatre-vingt-dix neuf pour cent de la population est musulmane
Par conséquent, le livre saint des Algériens est le Coran
Et faire le Pèlerinage est le rêve de tous les croyants

Bien que la langue officielle ne soit pas le français
Le français est encore largement parlé
Un peu partout en Algérie dans les plateaux et les déserts
Et la France est juste de l’autre côté de la mer

J’aime la France, la Suisse, et la Belgique
Et les autres pays francophones aussi en Afrique
Mais de tous ceux-là, mon pays francophone favori
Comme je vous l’ai dit, c’est l’Algérie !

-Kathleen Ludewig ( ’06 )

French Native Assistants: Years gone by

Gwénaëlle Gautier-Mamy ('94-'95). The year at Hope confirmed my desire to teach foreign languages. Back in France, I prepared a 'maitrise' in English at the Université de Nantes and the following year, I prepared the competitive exam (CAPES) to become an English teacher. I was accepted and started to work in a high school in the North of France... I still live there! My high school students are between 15 and 18 years old. They have been studying English three hours a week since the age of 11. This year, I am also teaching older students who prepare the BTS (a two-year professional degree after high school). I make a point of encouraging students to travel, be curious, and if it is possible, live abroad for at least a year because I have known this enriching experience myself at Hope College. As a matter of fact, this year, I am taking 30 students to England for ten days. Voilà ma vie! I am happy with both my professional and family life: I have two children—Agnès (3 yrs ½) and Pierre Yves (2 ½). The memories I have kept from Hope College are the people: Hard-working students, trusting in the future, optimistic and warm (I hope the people I had the pleasure to meet ten years ago are as joyful today!).

Cécile (Boureau) Fernandes (’99-'00). If someone asked me what my best memory of Hope College is, I’d have a very hard time answering. Everything was just great: the people I met, my days at the French House with the nicest students ever, life on campus, etc… I got a lot of personal and professional benefits from this 9-month experience at Hope. First, personally since I could meet with a lot of people from different origins – today, I’m still in touch with some of them. Second, professionally because I worked with language teachers and it helps me today as an English teacher in a middle school in Suresnes, on the west side of Paris. Yet, the pupils I’m teaching now are younger (11-16 years old) and many of them come from underprivileged social backgrounds. Although it's sometimes hard to truly teach English and to feel confident about their future, my colleagues and I manage to find ideas to get them interested. Last year, we took 30 of them on a school trip to Oxford. On a personal note, I take Portuguese lessons since my husband’s family lives in Portugal. We went to Michigan in December 2003 and we both enjoyed every minute of the trip. Now, Carlos takes his coffee in a Michigan cup and when we talk about our future, we sometimes think about moving there!

The French Newsletter is published by the French section funded through the Department of Modern and Classical Languages. If you would like to be included in the next issue of The French Newsletter, please contact Brigitte Hamon-Porter at hamon@hope.edu. Thanks to Stélios Alvarez for his efforts on formatting and designing this bulletin and to all those who submitted articles to the French Newsletter. Questions and comments can be sent to http://www.hope.edu/academic/language.