In my quest to provide a dedicated space to the study of Haitian Creole, I encounter many critics who so easily dismiss the validity of the language.
“Why would someone want to learn Haitian Creole?” they ask. “Can you even teach Haitian Creole?” they wonder. “What’s the point of learning anyway…no one else in the world speaks Haitian Creole,” they argue.
I find myself often on the defensive and standing up for a language that many fail to see plays the largest role in shaping and creating our identity not just as Haitians, but also as hyphenated, bicultural Haitians. Language is one of the main gateways to access culture, and Haitian Creole acts as the bridge for those who are looking to connect or re-connect with Haiti. To circumvent that bridge is to dismiss the significance of Haitian Creole (my mind and lips want to spit the words out!).
Jola was born in Haiti and lived in an orphanage in the town of Mariani until he was adopted at the age of 3 by an American family and raised in Alaska. Moving from the warm climate of Haiti to the frigid weather of Alaska was a major culture shock for Jola, to say the least. It took him years to learn how to speak English, and in fact, spoke only Kreyòl until about age 9 or 10.
Read about Jola and more: http://www.haitiantimes.com/haitian-speaking-creole/