Writing by Hilda’s clients

Cal-Earth By Moni Datta Ecole secondaire Mgr-Richard,  Sec 1 The Eco-Dome is a new kind of house that can be built by a person without much experience. The California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture (Cal-Earth)  is a charitable and non-profit foundation of ceramic architecture and earth technology. Nader Khalili founded it in 1986 and it is dedicated to research and education of the public in environmentally oriented art and architecture. The Eco-Dome is a small home of 400 square feet interior space that is designed for people who do not have money. The Eco-dome is part of the educational and research program in Cal-Earth. It consists of a large central dome, surrounded by four small niches and a wind-scoop, in a clover leaf pattern. Learning and building an Eco-Dome provides hands-on experience in the essential aspects of Superadobe* construction. Since it is small it makes a manageable structure for a first-time owner builder and it can be constructed by 3-5 people. The Eco-dome is built out of earth-filled Superadobe* coils and does not need trees to be built. They can also be repeated and joined together to form an even larger house. Since there is a hole in the roof, light can come in and it is designed with the sun, shade and wind for passive cooling and heating. The furniture in the house can also be built in, with the same material. *earth stabilized with cement or lime 

An Old but Great Student


by LinXuan Martin Zhang, March20, 2010. My grandmother, Lan was born in a little city in China called Fuzhou, in 1940.Now she is 70 years old. She doesn't have an English name. She had three sisters and one brother, and she is second child of her family.


During her free time, she likes to dance, she is still teaching ballroomdancing now. Her two other hobbies are reading and cooking, she was the principle cook of my family when I was in China. She loves to put flowers in her room, and her favourite foods are desserts such as chocolates or cakes. She lived during the time of the war between China and Japan, so one of her special memories was when the Japanese used planes to bomb her native city. It was unpleasant but was special. Her happiest moment was when her grandson (me) was born; she had to wait for a long time because my mother decided to have me later in life. My mother told me that when I was born, my grandmother looked even happier than when she gave birth to her own children. Her saddest memory was when her husband died, she was extremely sad because my grandfather was a soldier. He fought against the enemies to help their country, and to have a happy family. She was very sad because they had much happy moments together. Now she is still sad sometimes. My grandmother is an important person in my life; she did a lot for me. I spent the most of my childhood with her, because my parents were traveling for their work. She was very responsible, she laughs when it's the time to, and she is strict also when necessary. After I immigrated here, she did really two things outstanding. At the age of 70, she started to use the computer, so she can often talk with me on the Internet video; she had never used it before because it's not very popular in China for elderly people. Also, she started learning a new language–English, to be able to practice with me, and maybe she will come here with my family soon, in a new country.

She is a really amazing grandmother!

Our Teacher Hilda

by Thérèse Tardieu   March 10, 2010.

Our teacher Hilda is a Jewish baby-boomer woman. She was born in Montreal. Her first language is English, but her grand-mother has spoken Yiddish to her. She understands every thing in Yiddish but she is not able to speak.


She studied to become a teacher. At that time there was a crisis, not enough teachers for a lot of children, so in only one year of university studies, it was possible to become a teacher.


Hilda is married, has three adult children and two grand children. She has been teaching for twenty years. Today she has her private students. She teaches ESL at her home near a metro station. Her students can easily go to her home. She also teaches at our school Marymount Adult Centre, as a substitute teacher.


I hope she will obtain a permanent job here because she knows how it feels to understand but not be able to speak a language, and her experience as a private teacher is a plus.



I Love Soccer

I will speak in this text about my favourite sport which is soccer. I have loved soccer since I have memory. I asked my father for a soccer ball when I was three years old and since then, I play and watch soccer games every time I can.

However, in Montreal I don’t have many opportunities to practice this sport because I don’t know many people who play. I just could play it a few times last summer with people I didn’t know in a park.

Other problem for me is I don’t have TV cable and I can’t watch the soccer games that I want, and on the other hand, in the national TV they almost never show soccer games, just hockey, American football and baseball, that’s it. That’s why I’m a little disappointed.

The good new was in my last vacation in Colombia one month ago, my favourite soccer team from my hometown called « Deportivo Independiente Medellín » won the Colombian soccer cup and I could watch the final match inside the stadium, I could feel the energy through my body when the goals came. After, I was on the streets with many people celebrating the victory, everybody was happy and me too, of course, because I never had this opportunity before in my whole life. It was awsome!

I hope things will change in the near future for me here in Canda because I’d really like to find friends who want to play soccer and I’m sure I’ll be able to afford a good TV cable to watch all matches I want, especially the world cup 2010 which is coming next summer.

Let’s see what happens in the next months.

Written by : Camilo Uribe, a student at Marymount Adult Centre

Popular arts in Haiti by Thérèse Tardieu

Haiti is an artist’s nation. Haitians like music, dance, sculpture, painting. Everywhere in the countryside their little houses are coloured with vibrant colours. A lot of people don’t have a job. They paint pictures, sculpt wood figures, work metal and they try to sell their work to earn some money. They exhibit their products on popular streets. It is like a big outside collective exhibition. Buyers can choose from hundreds of pieces. Sometimes it is possible to find something exceptional. Haitians paint primitive and naïve pictures from their folklore, particularly African animals. They also paint nature: flowers, scenes of the sea, boats and sunsets, mountains and traditional live scenes. Some painters are famous. Their pictures can have a big value. They represent the elite of Haitian art. Many shops propose Haitian traditional art in the cities.


Haitians also like music, they play drum, maracas, make music with long metal tubes, etc. Haitians are always singing and dancing. All kinds of Haitian music are created for dancing. Babies are used to shaking their bodies automatically when they hear music.

For religious ceremonies, Haitians draw voodoo symbols on the earth, During ceremonies, they sing and they do ritual dances. On some occasions, crowds parade on the streets singing and dancing escorted by musicians.

A special architecture was famous one hundred years ago. These houses are called "gingerbread". They are built with wood and light bricks. They are very beautiful. The Haitian gives a special attention to decorating the outside of houses. Haiti also has an oral tradition.

People relate folk tales in the evening after work. This nation likes to have a good time. To live is hard but fortunately God is good. If He decides to give us both good and bad, He knows why. That’s the reason Haitians always add "sidieve" (si dieu veut) to a sentence when they speak of the future. Poor Haitians haven’t money but they are rich in the arts.

Aid for Haiti – Is it a Gift or Social Justice?

by Thérèse Tardieu

Yesterday, I watched the show for Haiti. Another show was going in the USA at the same time. So much compassion helps people to tolerate the pain. Money is important, very important, but knowing that a part of the North America was watching and thinking together about Haitian people was a balm for our suffering.

On the Haitian flag, there is an inscription. Three words Liberty, Equality, Fraternity are written. Haitian people are so proud of the freedom, which they have won after a war. But they have not reached equality and fraternity, not yet. Haiti is delivering. After a long difficult pregnancy Haiti will bear twin babies: equality and fraternity. Freedom, this word reveals the injustices of the European people about their slaves. After the Europeans exported the gold of the land, the blood of Indians and African slaves fertilized the earth, which became so rich that it provided food reserve of Europe. The Indian slaves were destroyed, then the Africans replaced them. Later the African slaves chased the French out of Haiti and declared their independence during the War of Independence. After a few years, France signed the treaty of independence with Haiti and obtained the payment of a large sum in exchange for their losses. Haiti paid.

Today, the entire world is spending money to help Haitians. In reality, it isn’t a gift from the western world, especially the Europeans. They have taken our gold, they have committed genocide and they have received money for the freedom of their victims. During the past few years, people have recognized their mistakes and they regret their errors. To recognize is something, reparation is something else. Today the words on our flag are coming true, Equality and Fraternity, not only for Haitians but for all humanity.

What is happening in Haiti now – all nations are working together to help a devastated people after a natural disaster. Imagine Cuban and American doctors working as one team, to perform a surgery. This shows us that peace is possible for the entire world. Peace isn’t only a dream.

essay by Thérèse Tardieu,  a student at Marymount Adult Centre, Montreal Feb. 4, 2010.

This page is under construction. Please return soon to read interesting stories, essays, opinion pieces and poems written by Hilda's clients.

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