Panther Profile: Ketura Lainy

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Photo credit to Kirkwood Photo

Vika Terrill, Staff writer

Ketura Lainy is a junior at Bloomington South. You may have seen her at track practice or in Dr. Milks’ panther plus working on college programs. She isn’t just your typical, hardworking AP student, though. Lainy happens to be trilingual as well. 

In 2014, Lainy crossed oceans to leave her home in Haiti and come to America. One of the biggest differences she has noticed between the two countries is the difference in schooling systems. Like most schools in Haiti, the school she attended was a private school run by a religious organization. Lainy recalls that at her school they wore uniforms, played sports, studied the Bible, and had textbooks for every class. 

“Schools are different, here you get to choose your classes,” Lainy said. “Also, [in Haiti] teachers would whip the kids.”

Because Haiti is a former French colony, students are taught French at school. Lainy also took English classes every Thursday. In addition to knowing French and English, she is fluent in Haitian Creole. The language Creole developed in the late 17th century from contact between French colonizers and African slaves in Haiti. When kids spoke Creole at her school, they were punished physically by the school teachers. Despite the punishments, Lainy persisted in speaking Creole because it is native to Haiti and important to her culture. 

Photo credit to Wikimedia Commons

Another difference in the schooling systems is that most schools in Haiti are not free to attend. Lainy explained that if you aren’t able to pay the annual school tuition, you aren’t permitted to go to class. Many parents find it difficult to pay the fees.

“Most kids couldn’t go to school. I’m pretty lucky that my parents could pay for mine and my sister’s education,” Lainy said. 

In Haiti, some of the main holidays Lainy would celebrate were Haitian Independence Day on January 1st and Haitian Flag Day on May 18th. For Independence Day, she would drink Soup Joumou, a type of pumpkin soup, because pumpkins symbolize Haitian freedom and independence. On Flag Day, her school would sing the full national anthem. 

Moving to America wasn’t too challenging for Lainy because she had previously visited when she would vacation with her aunt in Florida. She was practically fluent in English before she moved to Florida in 2014. Her mother didn’t like the schooling system, though, so they moved again in 2017, this time to Bloomington. 

In Haiti she mainly enjoyed spending time with her family and eating traditional Haitian food. The country of Haiti is split up into 10 departments and occasionally she would go to the department Sud-Est and hang out at the beach. Due to high prices, most people don’t shop at stores and, instead, mostly shop at flea markets. 

Photo credit to Wikimedia Commons

Of the Haitian citizens, Lainy joked that “people are mostly friendly, just mind your business.” 

Although she hasn’t gone back to her hometown in Haiti yet, she plans on visiting sometime soon. She enjoys it here in America, but she still considers Haiti her home. 

“My roots are in Haiti. My home is in Haiti. ” 

Photo credit to Wikipedia