I Need A Sponsor…

I need a sponsor, the words quickly escape his mouth as if they've have been festering in his mind for quite some time. A sponsor, I think, an English word that has nestled itself into Haitian verbiage and become a part of the Creole dictionary. It’s a word I hear...

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A Different Kind of Hardship

Tires burn in the streets to barricade the open routes. Vehicles are set ablaze, creating vast clouds of dark smoke which seem to be ever looming over the greater area of Port-au-Prince, the capital city suffering from pollution and too many people. Gun shots are...

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Shirley: An Anomaly in a Broken World

She sits in The Cafe, fresh-faced, professionally-dressed, as the midday light filters into the pavilion, providing a golden hue against the wood decor. There’s a glow about her, perhaps because she's sitting down next to her new husband or maybe because she’s about...

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Hey Shelley, You Want a Baby?

Shelley in Haiti - A Memoir My family and I had been in Haiti for a month when I heard a familiar voice call out as I walked in the gate. “Hey, Shelley, you want a baby?” Yes, I did want a baby, a Haitian baby, though my husband and I already had two young biological...

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Resilience in Disaster

Hazel, Flora, Cleo, Matthew. The list extends far beyond these four names, Category 4 and 5 hurricanes that have swept through the Atlantic over the past two hundred years, a history of destruction to the small island of Hispanola, particularly Haiti. On October 4,...

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The Moto: More Than Meets The Eye

While the traffic system may appear to be chaos to the outsider, it is, indeed, an organized mess comprised of cars, motorcycles, school buses, semi-trucks and people, all weaving in and out of each other, always dodging one another at what seems to be the last...

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The Machann

Ti machann pa fè kob. It’s a Haitian saying in reference to the men and women who sell products on the sides of the streets, everything from secondhand clothing to hygiene products, chicken and rice to medication. The small vendor doesn’t make money. Up until this...

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More Than Just A Cafe

It all started with a smoothie. In April 2013, Papillon opened its doors to a new market - unaware of the success it would see in the future, unaware of the customers who would help sustain more jobs and unaware of a business that had just begun to take root. The Cafe...

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A Silent Epidemic

*These stories do not necessarily reflect Papillon’s artisans but are a reflection of a very present national epidemic in Haiti. Names have been omitted for their protection. He reflects on his past and the moments in his life worth remembering, the moments that stand...

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Darline: Beating the Odds

She giggles as she leans in and whispers to me, I want to get married some day. I smile at her, reassuring her her dream of marriage is sacred. I want a good man, someone respectful, faithful and kind, she explains, dwelling on the qualities, valid qualities, she...

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The Roads Well Traveled

Everything in Haiti is a feat. A simple trip to the grocery store to buy a couple of food items can often feel like a major accomplishment. What did you do today? It’s a weighty question, indeed, but the response often sounds much less impressive than its reality...

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Silyanis: Fighting for Tomorrow

I like the way they teach us how to communicate, how to treat other people, she says, reflecting on the benefits of her participation in the literacy program she attends twice a week after work. Silyanis is one of many in the class hosted by PRODEV,...

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Dede: A Balance of Wit and Grace

She snickers, under her breath, mumbling words in Creole. The surrounding women laugh at the joke she’s just made. They lean back, clenching their stomachs, clapping their hands, cackling during this moment of comic relief in an otherwise chaotic life. But...

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How Babies Are Made

Contraceptives in Haiti. It’s as controversial of a topic on this small Caribbean island as politics is in America. Questions are posed, assumptions are made and opinions are formulated, often not without reason, but usually as a result of misinformation. It begins...

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A Success Story

Josh Shipp recently said, “every child needs just one stable adult to become a success story.’’ Isn’t this the truth? Hasn’t it always been the truth? As foreigners, it’s easy to assume implementing Westernized ideologies into the Haitian culture is the best solution...

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Happy Father’s Day

Father’s Day - a celebration of the man whose strength upholds his household, whose perseverance empowers his children, whose faithfulness encourages his peers and whose love unites his family. A father’s role is precious in the life of his child, regardless of race...

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Beauty in the Brokenness

She quietly slides into the backseat of the car. At first glance, her face is soft and gentle, yet worn with years of hard life, her eyes tired from the pain she has seen and from the difficulty she has felt. Her dark, black hair is sprinkled with grey despite the...

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All because it’s worth it

  There is a misconception that orphanages, no longer existent in developed countries, are a good alternative to childcare in impoverished and underdeveloped nations. There is a misconception that mothers and fathers give their children up out of a lack of love...

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For whatever a woman (or man) sows….

The law of sowing and reaping is universal. It is for me one of those threads that goes through all cultures and religions in a way that shows me that God obviously thought it was important enough to tell it in every format possible. A Japanese proverb says, “A seed...

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Seven years

I feel like I have told the story so many times. The day that started like any other day. How we went to the store and bought flour and bananas and spent the day making tortillas. How later that afternoon, the very same grocery store that I bought the flour in came...

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