Thursday, January 30, 2014

Alliance Francaise 2014

Bonjour tout le monde!

No, I haven't learned French yet, but I am bringing you an update from Alliance Francaise St. Kitts and Nevis.

To refresh your memory, the nonprofit organization educates and spreads French language and culture through satellite locations around the world. They do so in a very open, creative, and inclusive way.

We are fortunate to have an Alliance Francaise right here in the tiny island of St. Kitts and Nevis. Although small in membership size compared to other organizations, the Alliance's impact here is big, with events, trips, language classes, and opportunities abound.

Recently I had the chance to attend a monthly Voyage A' event, where great wine and cheese is served and someone usually tells a story about a voyage or trip they took in France. This Voyage A' event did have good wine but there were two differences this time, one of those was a surprise.

The first order of business was meeting everyone, one of the secondary benefits of Alliance events. Many important people were in attendance but the mood was, as always joyful and the conversation was mostly in French.

Patricia, left, and Pauline, right speak in French to Director Karine Lennox, center.
The membership of Alliance is very diverse and events like these give them a chance to share an interest they have in common: The French language or culture.

There were people from the U.K., France, St. Kitts and Nevis, Venezuela, and The U.S., if you counted myself. There were several Consulates from other countries present also.
Alliance members socializing at Voyage a' Night.
At the event I tried to speak to everyone but it's not always possible. The one young lady i spoke with is teaching the French classes at Alliance now and told me she was able to go to France to study the language because of Alliance. That is great! Another way the organization is helping to broaden the world for the people here.

I also didn't realize that French was taught here in high school but a teacher here informed me that they do teach it and in fact were having a ceremony to congratulate the students who had done so well recently on their exams.

For that surprise. If you are from St. Kitts then you definitely know the young lady from WINN FM with the golden voice. If you're not from here you can still tune in to their station online here: WINN FM

I'm definitely bias because I know Toni, but even before I met her at an Alliance event I heard her on the radio and thought, "What an interesting, intelligent voice." I tune in to the local radio stations everyday still and when Toni is on, I listen to her over everyone else. She is bright, entertaining, and vibrant. She's also a great person and an Alliance Francaise member and Committee member now.

Yes the surprise...... Toni recently went out with her fiancee and got married on a beach in Nevis with no warning or invitations. (It wasn't eloping because you can't do that on a tiny nation of two small islands.) She did so we believe because of her humble personality and didn't want to be the center of attention. Karine, Alliance's Director set up a mock wedding for her and her now husband as a surprise. Alliance bought her a cake, which she didn't have at her real wedding.

Long story short, I became the back up groom (What a title huh?) since her husband couldn't make it and we took pseudo-wedding pictures with the cake. Toni didn't show up in her dress as planned but that's fine. She was very taken aback and bashful about the surprise. Every time I listen to Winn FM now I have to chuckle and smile.

Me with Toni, my favorite St. Kitts DJ.

Toni with her "wedding cake."
Once the fun and games were over it was time for some serious business: The election of 2014 Alliance Francaise St. Kitts and Nevis Committee members.

Democratically all of these ladies were chosen as the new committee members for this year.

1- Président: Denise Mertins 2- Vice Président: Carlene Morton 3- Trésorière: Sybil Welsh 4- Secrétaire: Sonia Daly- Finley 5- Relation Publique Nevis: Isabel Byron 6- Relation Publique St Kitts: Toni Frederick-Armstrong.
The ladies didn't take long before they were already deep in brain storming mode about what kind of events they should hold this year and how to boost membership.

If you haven't met Karine, the Alliance Francaise Director then you're missing out, because she is completely full of energy, positivity, and great ideas. In the army we called this a "Can Do Attitude" and Karine has that. She energizes Alliance Francaise St. Kitts and Nevis and is great at leadership and is a role model for many younger children.

Karine leads a quick meeting of the new committee members.
From the meeting held with the new committee members some new events came out that will be taking place this year. These events include: 1. A free Movie at The Marriott on February 6th at 7 p.m. 2. A wine tasting event on February 25th for members only 3. Pottery Workshop Session 2 on February 1st. 4. A French Play will take place for the children on February 11th.

Also the organization started a unique way to bring French books to students all over St. Kitts. It's called the AF Bibliobus and it will tour St. Kitt's High Schools twice a month and bring the books to the students, and members if they like. They will be able to check out the books from the bus instead of coming to the main headquarters building in Greenlands.

Alliance Francaise has also been working diligently on a brand new, more informative website and here it is......Alliance Francaise St. Kitts Nevis

Also "like" their page on facebook as well as Island Babble's since most of their events are on there too.

Be sure to look over the new website for events past and future, how to become a member, and how to attend an event or better yet, how to start taking a French class.

Here are links to past Alliance Francaise posts I have done:

1. Alliance Welcome Reception March 2013

2. Montserrat Trip with Alliance Francaise Part 1

3. Montserrat Trip with Alliance Francaise Part 2

Become a Member Today and Learn Something New!