Confession #114: Maybe It Is Because I Still Stink (short story by Papouch)

The creativity of our teens never ceases to amaze me. From drawing to sewing, jewelry making to photography, singing to writing, many of them are discovering some sort of outlet to express their feelings artistically. And I love, so love, when they let me share.

Today, I am sharing a short story by Papouch. As I was walking around the house yesterday he asked me to sit and listen. Then out of nowhere he started sharing these words- almost like it was open mic night at the local coffee shop. His story is raw, beautiful, and from the heart. Hope you enjoy!

~ Jillian

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My name is Papouch.

I live on the street, behind a trashcan.

When I am hungry I try to get food out of the trash.

Sometimes I find food. Sometimes I don’t.

 

One time a rich man saw me.

He asked if he could take a picture of me because he thought he cared for me.

I didn’t know what a picture was so I let him take it.

Then he showed me the picture.

I couldn’t smile because I had never seen my face on a piece of paper before.

I didn’t know what to think.

 

He told me about his life.

I told him about mine.

He said, “What do you want to do?”

I said, “I want to fix shoes for people to make money.”

I saw people on the street do that once, but I didn’t know.

 

He gave me a little paper.

I didn’t know what it meant.

Later I learned it was called “money”.

Someone told me I could use it to buy something.

 

But then some tough guy saw me with the money.

He said, “I saw that rich man give you money.”

I lied and told him no.

We argued.

He beat me up and took my paper money.

 

Another man saw me and picked me up off the street.

He asked me what was wrong and gave me a bowl of soup.

I couldn’t drink it very well because my face was so beaten.

But I was so hungry so I tried the best I could.

 

He asked me again what was wrong and I told him.

Turns out he fixed shoes too.

He said he wanted to teach me.

I said okay because I thought this was a big thing – fixing shoes- but I didn’t know.

 

Three months ago I tried to make myself a business.

I made a little money.

One day a boy came to me to fix his shoes.

He wore a uniform.

I had never seen such nice clothes before.

So I asked him about his clothes.

He told me about school.

“What is school,” I asked.

“School is a good place where you can learn a lot of new things,” he said.

I went back to the man who taught me to fix shoes and I continued to work hard.

Then one day I finally had enough money in my pocket- enough to go to school.

 

Now I go to school.

Now I have a uniform.

But at school the kids look at me the same way the rich man looked at me- like a boy who lives behind a trashcan.

Maybe it is because I still stink…

~ Papouch

Confession #113: Conversations in a Car

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Back when Hunter and I were dating we used to spend countless hours a week in his hand-me-down navy blue Tahoe (complete with a box phone). Now before you get the wrong idea (seriously, get your mind out of the gutter) let me explain.

We went to a Christian college- one where boys and girls weren’t allowed in each other’s rooms and curfew was stricter than at our own parents’ houses. So for us, if we wanted to talk alone on an average day, we typically resorted to the Tahoe parked somewhere on campus…or the nearby Sonic drive-in.

That old Tahoe, in many ways, was like our private little sanctuary. Between parking lot dates and road trips home we learned about each other in that truck. It was where we discussed theology, prayed together, and dreamed about our futures together. It was where we shared stories of our past, laughed until we cried, played our favorite songs, and had our first kiss. With my feet reclined up on the dashboard and Hunter playing DJ with all the mixed CDs we young lovebirds made for each other, we cherished every moment.

After we got married we traded in the old Tahoe. It was a sad day, but it didn’t matter. We had a new SUV and therefore new memories to make, new stories to share, new places to see, and new music to play.

Once we moved to Haiti, we shared a new truck with the orphanage- one that just like our vehicles of the past would become our private sanctuary. Sometimes, after a stressful day at the work, we would resort to our old ways and go hide out in the truck just to talk.

It’s been 1 year and 8 months now since Hunter and I have had a private drive/sitting in a vehicle. I know that number sounds really exaggerated, but it is true. One year and eight months ago is when the previous vehicle we used to drive in Haiti was wrecked (by another person while we were in the states) which led to the purchase of our motorcycle. And as much as we have tried, having meaningful conversation on the moto is near impossible.

With our SUV still stuck in customs, we have missed the days of riding in a car together. I had no idea how much either until the other day when we took a trip to the boarder. We are currently renting what my family is calling a “toy car”. Big enough just to fit the four of us plus a few backpacks, this gem was the cheapest thing we could find to rent while we continue to wait for our broker to follow through at the port.

Anyway, this week Hunter and I took a trip to go grocery shopping in the town across the boarder in the Dominican Republic. Although it takes about an hour to get there, the quality and prices of food are worth the trip. (Plus, they have cheese. Tons of cheese! And that, my friends, is a missionary’s dream come true.) The ride was rather toasty. October is the hottest month of the year in Haiti and our toy car doesn’t have AC. But we didn’t care, because for the first time in almost two years we were driving with each other again.

I realize we spend our everyday together. We live in the same home and even share a job. We have plenty of time to talk and bond. But for us, since the beginning of our relationship, there is just something special about our conversations in a car. Maybe it is the sight seeing or maybe it is because we can simply focus on each other. I don’t know. But we talked and laughed more than we have in long time together in the toy car. Although most of it was pointless, like discussing how we don’t understand the advertising strategies of billboards in Haiti or what our favorite lunch combinations were in elementary school (rectangle pizza, chocolate milk, and ice cream- duh!), was not the point. The point was the drive…together.

I love the conversations we have together in cars. Our times spent driving or just sitting and talking are some of my favorites. It’s so simple and perhaps even cheesy, I know, but it’s true.

What about you? Where do you and your spouse like to hide out and talk?

~ Jillian

Please continue to pray with us about the release of our SUV. After all, God can move mountains!

Confession #112: When The Righteous Cry Out

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Today I want to ask you for a favor: I need your prayers. I know I ask for that often- prayers for Baby Jake, for our adoption, for our wisdom and strength, for our finances, and for our teens at Emmaus House. We, like many of you, have witnessed the power behind the prayers of […]

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Confession #111: Back to School and a House That is Not My Own

back-to-school

On September 8th the new school year officially began in Haiti. Well, at least President Martelly said it did. Normally when school is in session, the morning and afternoon streets are filled with kids in their brightly colored uniforms. Second hand school buses crowd all other transportation. And the school buildings are packed full of […]

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Confession #110: Hunter’s Missionary Confession

Going-To-The-Beach-With-Friends-Rat-Island (21 of 31)

This week I finished watching the 5th and final season of Breaking Bad on Netflix. It was a sad moment for me to say the least. I have been enjoying the show for a couple months now, quietly witnessing the life and struggles of main character, Walter White. If you are not familiar with the show, Walter, […]

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Confession #109: I Want To Be A Part Of The Change: Jetro’s Personal Essay

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My name is Jetro Compère. I am 19 years old and currently in Rheto at College Christ Roi. I was born and raised in Cap Haitien, Haiti. My interests include reading, studying languages, and social studies. I really enjoy learning more about different societies around the world and taking what I learn from their examples […]

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Confession #108: Please, Let Me Brag a Bit: I Have BEAUTIFUL Children

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All photos by Hunter Kittrell Photography. If you live in Haiti and want some great pictures of your beautiful kids too, give him a call. ~ Jillian 

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Confession #107: Do You Know Your Neighbor?

Dalen and Nalandson Last Day Of School-15

Are you one of those parents who reminds their kid of the starving children in Africa every time they complain about finishing the food on their plate? You know, the ones who would be so grateful to have a plate full of peas and meatloaf? Because I totally used that line the other night with […]

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Confession #106: Oh Baby! Part 2

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So a while back THIS happened :-)  CRAZY! I know having a baby is normal, but somedays I still wake up and think WHAT IN THE WORLD??? I guess that is normal too. Regardless, Baby Jake is on his way this November and we couldn’t be more excited as to how God is bringing our […]

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Confession #105: Service is a Lifestyle

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This past week our teens from Emmaus House were given the opportunity to serve alongside a short-term medical team. They helped in the pharmacy, taught the children Bible stories, translated for the doctors, and assisted patients in the clinics. Some days they were close to home while others they traveled hours away to serve those […]

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