I recently was asked to be ‘interviewed’ for an elementary school project by my 9-year-old niece, Sophie. It was a family history project, so she chose her Grammie’s Acadian heritage. To make it a little easier for her classmates to understand, it was titled Nova Scotia - Acadia.
She will have time to learn about Le Grand Dérangement. It was decided that we would leave that cataclysmic event out. It is hard to think of Acadians without thinking of the exile, but it is not what defines us.
She did some research online and read “Evangeleine for Children” borrowed from the local public library.
She drew a large map of the area for the center of her story board. Around it, she placed pictures of food, customs, the flag, and an interior of a typical farm house. Some of the food included fricot au poulet (chicken stew), têtes de violon (fiddleheads) and poutine à trou (dumpling with a hole).
|Fricot au poulet|
|têtes de violon|
|poutine à trou|
She also made a shoebox-sized vignette of a typical Acadian kitchen including people made of clay which were later painted. It was easy to see the effort she put into the project.
When the day of the ‘interview’ arrived, she was not feeling well. Struggling through, she asked questions, listened to my answers and took notes. After a doctor’s visit the next day, I learned why it was so difficult for her. She had walking pneumonia and a temperature of 101.
She wrote down what she wanted to say on index cards for her presentation. Her Mom helped her practice it aloud. She was out of school for a few days, but was eager to give her speech in front of the class. It was a warm day. The teacher was running fans. Sophie’s voice was timid at first, but when it came to the question and answer period, she perked up. She knew her stuff. “Yes. 1604, the Acadians came before the Pilgrims”. As I sat in her classroom listening to her, I could not have been prouder.