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Interview with a young Haitian student
and technician, Ludjy Elvariste

Emmanuel W. VEDRINE

Ludjy Elvariste

Photo Cathedral High School (Boston)

(Courtesy IVFOSENP)
Boston, December 2, 2023


We are greeting everyone who is connected to our network, “Educating Haitians in Haiti and Haitians in diaspora”. As part of the orientation program that we are trying to do particularly to help young people in Haiti and in diaspora, who are in school (high school, university) we’ve been preparing some audios covering many areas. We also do interviews with professionals that we can find in the diaspora, particularly in the United States, so we share these interviews and audios with people in Haiti, a way to help them. So, today, we met with a young Haitian, Ludjy Elvariste, who left Haiti six years ago and who is about to graduate from High School and is ready to attend university next year. His focus is technology.

How are you, Ludjy? (L.E).

L.E: Very well! And you?

We are very well! Tell us how long you’ve been in the United States, and how did you come.

L.E: I’ve been in the United States since 2017, which means I’ve been living here since six years.

O.K, six years, how did you make the transition? We know you were in school in Haiti. Your parents took steps toward your coming to the United States. What was it like? Did you speak English back in Haiti?

L.E: No. I didn’t learn English at all. You know... I knew some phrases (such as hi, hello, how are you)…

So, you knew some very basic English. And did you have trouble mastering English in Boston?

L.E: Well, thanks God, I did not have much difficulty. I learned it in two years. After that, my English was normal.

But, how in two years? Did you watch video games, sports? We know that you also play sports. You are a great American football player, and what did you do?

L.E: Well, I watch some movies, sometimes I read also. These things make you learn English well, and easier. You talk to people even they don’t  fully understand what you are saying, but it’s an effort.

But how was it at home? Do you speak more (Haitian) Creole or English at home with your parents?

L.E: No. I only speak Creole at home with family members. As my brother and my sisters were born the US, I tried to speak English with them.

So, you think it helps you a lot, the fact that your younger brother and sisters were born in the United States and that English is their dominant language?

L.E: Yes, because they can understand when I say “no” to them. I had to speak English with them.

How did you get adapted, we know that when you arrived in Boston you went to a program where there were a lot of Haitians and young immigrants. What problem did you face?

L.E: Well, I didn’t have much trouble. We were all together. We ate together. We played together. We were in the same class. We were learning together.

But have you found Haitian teachers who help you make the transition, which oriented you in this regard?

L.E: Well, there was no Haitian teacher where I went to school. There were only white teachers. There was an ESL program where white teachers would teach English. There was no Haitian at all.

We know that you attended a private Catholic school in the city of Boston. Tell me about your experience in that school, and you one of the football players, a great sport in the United States.

L.E: Well, after two years in the ESL program, I went to a Catholic High School where only English is spoken. There was no Creole. The first year was a bit difficult for me because you know, there was no Creole at all. I had no Haitian friends to speak Creole with. At that time, I had to learn more English and furthermore I was playing football. I have to speak to the coach in English. So, I had to learn English quickly.

We see that as a young person under 18, you are very advance in technology and computer. How was it for you? What motivated you?

L.E: Well, what motivated me, I don’t hide it to you, it was money that motivates me because technology is something that has a lot of money in this country. Technology is something that is constantly changing. It’s a big business.

You intend to study technology, computer science… all this in American university. Is it with intention to make inventions, making new apps. With what intention?

L.E: All of these, including doing business, developing apps…. You never know…

Are you thinking of Apps dealing with games because you watch many of them… Is it at this level of games you are thinking? At what level?

L.E: Well, the game stuff is also there; it’s making a lot of money, but I am not so sure what I want to do, my major. We are still thinking.

What advice would you give young people in Haiti? You are going to have your driving license soon and you are not eighteen yet. You have a lot of experience. What advice would you give young Haitians of your age?

L.E: Well, if you are Haitian at this age, I can say you must learn English, take school seriously because you never know; you can get scholarships to study in the United States. You can study in other countries. What’s important is taking your studies seriously.

You are also someone who are in technology. Well, you are member of Tabernacle de Gloire (TG) Tabernacle of Glory), the most popular evangelical Haitian church that exists today and it applies technology in everything. This church also motivates young Haitians and Haitian Americans through its leader Bishop Gregory Toussaint. What’s your experiences as youth as part of the tech ministry of this great Haitian church?

L.E: We, I am at the Boston Campus, and something I learn a lot is that is that you don’t play with God’s work. Even if it’s technology you are doing if you don’t master it, you must take it seriously. It’s also what makes me understand that technology is something that can help people a lot. Not only it can help people, but also you can use in church.

You speak Creole very well, your mother tongue; you master English very fast. We put a lot of emphasis on the English language. What would you say to young Haitians about English?

L.E: Take both language (Kreyol, English) seriously. Don’t lean too much on French. It will help tomorrow but focus more on English.

You have experience working on the radio, here in the United States. Talk a little bit about your experience on the radio. What did you do exactly. Did you work as a technician? What were you doing?

L.E: I was doing a small job during summer vacation. I was helping a group of people with a radio program that has just started. I was in charge of sound for them, and I learned other things.

So, you can also work as a sound engineer because they need these technicians as well. In less than two months you’ll get your driving license, tell us about your experience behind the steering wheel.

L.E: Well, when you come to America (USA), things change. For example, there is «speed limit». You cannot exceed the limit… You have all of these experiences.

In relation to sports, we know you love American football. How did you master that game? We know it’s different from soccer that is played in Haiti.

L.E: It’s a sport that really uses physical… the more weight you put on you for this sport, you also have to work out. I have been playing it since eight grade. It’s s sport for which I have developed a love. By watching it, I came to understand it and love it as well.

In terms of High School grades, we are surprised to see your report card. Your grades are straight “A” you got for all subjects, and you are on the list to become the valedictorian in 2024 graduation. You are also a football player. So, how do you see your future thought many universities that will accept. So, how do you see your future at many American universities that will accept you?

L.E: Well, when you get good grades, colleges like you; they want to make offers to you. Many colleges are writing to me offering me thousands, thirty thousand dollars scholarships. In other words, getting good grades is something that can help parents, and your future also. That can really help you.

Not only you are advance in American football, but you also watch European soccer as well. We see as a Paris-Saint Germain or Manchester City fan… Which European club motivates you the most?

L.E: Well, the person I can say that motivates me the most is Kylian Mbappé.

O.k. What do you think of him? What have you learned from him?

L.E: Well, there are many people who say that he is too selfish because he is taking a bigger role than Messi, than Nema. But what I see is that he is doing things for himself. He is showing France that he is in charge of the team.

What you think if by any change Paris-Saint Germain would lose Mbappé where he would play for another team?

L.E: It’s something that would be really bad for Paris-Saint Germain and for him. For example, if MBappé goes to Real Madrid, he will not do anything new...  If he goes to Manchester City, he will not do anything new. He can simply be somewhere to do his own thing, to show people who he is so that he can be a super star. He does not have to go all the way to Real Madrid to make his name

For American football, which team is currently leading? We know there are always fans in everything. Which American football team are you a fan of that’s leading?

L.E: The current leading team is «Philadelphia Eagle». 

We believe you were watching its recent match against another team.

L.E: Yes. A nice match!

A little secret for you. We know you watched the World Cup. What did you think? Which you thought that would be champion?

L.E: I am a Messi fan. I wanted Messi to win but at the end of them I said “wow!”, it seems that MBappé  can beat. It’s a game that really surprised me. I almost cried while watching it. I almost died. All of them almost happened to me. Nice game!

But did you think that Argentina would be champion?

L.E: Well, I think so. You know... This game from the beginning was 50 /50 because the two teams are great. It was a great game!

Wonderful! Not only I was a fan of France to be the champion, at the same time it wasn’t a problem (if Argentina won). If France had become champion, it would also be an honor for Africa and for all the black players (in the team). But it would not matter to me if Argentina became champion because I am from the American continent. So, on both sides, I felt that I would not lose in a sense though my wife is a Messi fan and many Haitians also bet on Argentina. We are stopping here. We think you a lot for the time you’ve put aside for this interview. What are your last words, and advice for young people in Haiti?

L.E: I would tell them to take school and technology seriously. I know there are people who would like to become doctors, do other careers but technology is also something that will dominate the world…

What would you say to Haitian parents who are very negative about young Haitians playing sports whereas sports is a big thing in American schools?

L.E: It will give you many opportunities in life to get scholarships, to be able to go far, to make connections. Sport in not something small in American eyes.

So, those of you in Haiti your mentality is strange in terms of when children are playing sports. You should encourage them because it’s something that can open doors for them in the United States. While in school, you are excelling in sports well that can open many doors for you as young people. Thank you very much Ludjy, and we wish you the best. You are on the list to be a possible valedictorian in your school where you will get many scholarships for great universities. We congratulate you! Thank you very much!


OXINÉ, Bonel.
---. IVFOSENP (Inivèsite Vityèl Fowòm Senlwidisid e Plis : Senlwidisid Virtual University Forum & Plus).

VEDRINE, Emmanuel W.
---. CONFERENCES (KONFERANS) (•) Chatting on Bibliographies related to Haitian Creole : Kozri sou koleksyon sou kreyòl ayisyen]. Emmanuel W. Védrine, special guest. Fakilte Lengwistik Aplike, Inivèsite Leta Ayiti : Faculté de Linguistique Appliquée (FLA), Université d’État d’Haïti: Faculty of Applied Linguistics, State University of Haiti • LangSE (Laboratwa Lang, Sosyete e Edikasyon : Language Lab, Society and Education). (•) Eperyans Dyaspora Ayisyen  (EDA / Haitian Diaspora Experience - audio).
---. Computerizing Haiti, and the strategy to do it : Enfòmatize Ayiti, e estrateji pou sa fèt : Informatiser Haïti, et la stratégie pour y parvenir : Informatizar Haití y la estrategía para hacerlo.
---. EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES AND ORIENTATION TRAINING FOR HAITIAN TEACHERS (Resous Edikasyonèl & Seyans Fòmasyon / Oryantasyon pou Anseyan Ayisyen). Summary • Rezime • Sommaire •  Resumen • Zusammenfassung]. (•) INSMINOGEG (Electronic Teaching Materials Index : Endèks Materyèl Didaktik / Pedagojik /Nimerik)
---. ESSAYS’ MODELS TO HELP HAITIAN STUDENTS (HIGH SCHOOL AND UNIVERSITY LEVEL) WITH WRITING [Modèl esè (disètasyon) pou ede Elèv Ayisyen ak ekri (•) Modèles d’essais pour aider les étudiants haïtiens à écrire (•) Modelos de ensayos para ayudar a los estudiantes haitianos para ayudar con la escritura • Essay-Modelle, um haitianischen Studenten bein Schreiben zu helfen -- Haitian Literature in Kreyol : Literati Ayisyen an kreyòl • Haitian Literature of the Diaspora : Literati Ayisyen Dyaspora].
---. REFLEKSYON SOU AKTIVITE POU ORYANTE LAJENÈS AN AYITI, E NAN DYASPORA • Reflection on activities to orient youth in Haiti, and in the Diaspora • Reflixión sobre las actividades de orientación de los jóvenes en Haití y en la diáspora.
---. Rezo Etidyan Ayisyen, Ayiti – Dyaspora : Network of Haitian Students, Haiti – Dyaspora.
---. SEZON SECHRÈS AYITI (novel, woman, novela) • Questions on the 10 (ten) chapters • Kesyon sou 10 chapit yo • Preguntes sobre los 10 (diez) capítulos. [Lesson Plan Model for Bilingual Education].

Courtesy • Koutwazi
E. W. Védrine Creole Project. (1992)
Boston, Massachusetts. USA


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