Écrire des lettres aux personnes âgées

Writing letters to the elderly – French Service Project 2021

As student in French B this year, I was told at the start of DP1 that I would be required to cover are all three areas of CAS in 3 posts by the end of my 2 year DP journey. Luckily for myself, I thought ahead of time and have managed to complete 2 of the 3 tasks. I successfully completed my first task when I made my own rendition of the Swiss desert, bonhommes last Christmas and I have just now done my part in my French service project.

For this year, myself and a few of my classmates, chose to write letters to the residents of an elders home who have had a hard time with COVID being unable to see their families and were in need of a little bit of cheering up :)) By keeping that intention in mined, I set out with the goal of writing my letter (shown below) to put a smile on their faces and to assure them that everything would be just fine during COVID and that the tough times will pass. My letter began with me introducing myself, my name, my age, my home and my hobbies etc. after which, I went on to talk about my own experience in quarantine and how it is affecting my life and its shortcomings, while I also assured my pen pal about how it it possibly the only way for things to go back to normal. I talked about how it has given me the time to explore things such as hobbies that I would usually not participate in leisurely in the absence of COVID, namely hobbies of mine such as playing music, reading and playing with my dogs which I haven’t had the time to engage in due to school. And at last, I said that  I hoped they were doing well and concluded with an inspirational quote by a man named Robert Choquette who said something the lines of, “At the heart of uncertainty, there will always be hope, no matter how weak it is.” and included 2 pictures of my dogs because let’s be there’s no bigger serotonin boost than puppies out there.

En français: 

Cette année, pour mon projet de service CAS, j’ai choisi d’écrire une lettre aux personnes âgées dans une maison pour personnes âgées en France. J’ai choisi de le faire parce que je savais que COVID doit être plus difficile pour eux que pour moi, car la plupart du temps, ils ne pourront pas voir les membres de leur famille, alors je voulais les rendre heureux et pleins d’espoir et leur rappeler que tout allait bien se passer.

Alors je leur ai écrit cette lettre:


Faire des Bonhommes!

French CAS Project – Creativity – Making Christmas Bonhommes! (good fellows)

As a part of my French lessons, my classmates and I were asked to take on a strand of CAS in the form of creativity to both practice our French and to promote francophone culture during the holidays; specifically in the form of end of year celebrations and traditions.

Among the many options that were available, what caught my eye the most was making a Christmas food from a French speaking country. I had as of late been spending more and more time in the kitchen exercising my cooking and baking abilities; which for the record, I would say is neither here nor there (usually whatever I make is either shockingly delicious or quite frankly, downright inedible – there is really no in between.) Needless to say I understood that it would have been beyond useful to brush up on those skills before heading off to college in two years time. (LO1 & 2)

Thinking hard on what I could make given the resources I had available, one of the first things that came to mind was the amazing baked bread called “gritibenzen” I ate around Christmas time every year when I was kid and lived in Germany. The bread would be shiny and golden brown, in the shape of adorable little bread people decked in Christmas attire, often decorated with a generous handful of raisins or dried fruit. More importantly, I remembered my dad explaining to me when I was younger that the tradition came from Switzerland where the snack was instead dubbed “bonhommes”.  Even thinking back on it, I would feel a sense of nostalgia, camping outside the stalls at Christmas Markets waiting for our warm “bonhommes” right before heading back home after doing our Christmas shopping.

It was decided then that I would give this dish my best shot – I had never attempted making bread before so this was a start for me and I just prayed that it would all somehow work out in my favor.

Here is a little explanation on the background and origins of my dish in French:

Pour mon projet CAS français, j’ai décidé de préparer un plat de Noël appelé Bonhommes de Suisse. C’est un pain sucré fait pendant la saison de Noël, préparé en général le jour de la Saint-Nicolas; célébré le 6 décembre. Ce plat provient des Celtes qui faisaient leur pain en forme de dieux et d’évêque. Le pain est généralement décoré avec des noix et des raisins et il y avait de nombreux noms différents dans différentes régions de la Suisse comme “Grittibanz” et “Stutenkerl”. Le pain ressemble généralement à un homme.

Voici est la recette que j’ai utilisée 

(The Recipe)


Here is my reflection I wrote after making the bonhommes:

Je viens de terminer la cuisson de mes bonhommes il y a environ une heure avant! Ils sont bien sortis, je dois dire. Bien sûr, ce ne sont pas les meilleurs bonhommes, mais ma famille les a goûtés et ils ont adoré. Cela nous a également rappelé à tous notre séjour en Allemagne, ce qui était vraiment agréable. J’ai fait quelques ajustements au plat, par exemple, j’ai fait un petit bonhomme de neige et une bonne fille aussi (même s’ils n’existent pas vraiment). Je n’aime pas trop les amandes, alors j’ai ajouté des raisins à la place qui sont généralement également présents dans la recette traditionnelle. Enfin, j’ai trouvé qu’ils n’étaient pas aussi colorés que je le souhaitais, alors j’ai utilisé le reste du glaçage de mes biscuits au pain d’épice pour ajouter un peu de couleur à mes pains.

Overall I really loved making them, and I was beyond relieved when they turned out good! I may be an amateur bonhomme maker for now, but I suppose I can add this to the list of Silva holiday traditions at home. I’ll be a professional baker before you know it!! (LO 2 & 3)

Ici sont mes bonhommes!


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