"Padre" is the true story of life in Cote d'Ivoire as a Peace Corps Volunteer that makes you laugh out loud when you least expect it.
What the Heck is Kickstarter ?
What Kickstarter is, is a crowdfunding site that allows people to actualize their own projects through the support of the masses. I set my minimum goal and try to make that or more, depending on the exchange I can provide to pledgers, the number of people I can contact in a very short period of time, and how fast the word is spread. Greater than a facebook "like," I’m hoping you like my presentation of "Padre" enough to micro-back me in self-publishing it. The deadline for success is Feb. 17th and Kickstarter demands every project creator achieve their minimum goal by the deadline or the project is cancelled and all donations credited back.
Why is Cultural Laughter Important ?
Cultural laughter should be important to you because it is the fastest way to realize that all people are human - susceptible to the same love and hate, fear and fearlessness, strength and weakness, genius and error, blindness and clarity. My cultural laughter is not about disrespect but, laughing at my reactions to unfamiliar circumstances and at my inability to adapt to something new. By laughing at myself, I learned to digest culture in a way that pulls all people into the same reality where love and appreciation is all you need to get along.
My experience in the Peace Corps in Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast, West Africa) over 10 years ago pushed me to travel more and opened me up to infinite worlds where I formed an insatiable fascination with the exploration of identity. My life there was rough, as all Peace Corps Volunteer experiences around the world usually are but, after struggling with the way I choose to present and share this story, I've managed to put in it the humor that my friends, family, co-workers, and anyone who meets me, know me for. You won't be able to laugh the entire way through but you will be shocked as the experience I had, for the standard 2.25 years of Peace Corps volunteership, is uniquely none other than my own.
What is Padre?
Padre is a non-fiction book project that illustrates the meaning of adventure through my volunteer life in Côte d'Ivoire - a place of contradictions with the very rich and the disastrously poor living in close proximity. Côte d'Ivoire is the largest producer of cocoa on the globe and at over 60 ethnicities, there are just as many musical languages and dialects to take in. These various ethnicities have been distinguished as different for a reason. No two ethnicities in Côte d'Ivoire have the same combination of characteristics. They do not often share the same food traditions, religious traditions, ways of celebration or mourning, rhythm of music, manner of wearing clothes, or the same marriage values. They are short, tall, thick, thin, and all manner of facial features and skin tones.
There are more than 50 countries on the continent of Africa, each with a multitude of lifestyles. This is a continent so big, in fact, that you can take the size of four USA's, fit them inside of Africa, and still be left with lots of countries to count. In Côte d'Ivoire alone, it takes about 10 hours to get from the easternmost border to the westernmost border - the equivalent of a car ride from NYC to Detroit. At times, I grew so absorbed by the breadth of novelty and diversity in Côte d'Ivoire that I forgot I had family and friends back in America. The different sense of identity that I discovered there expanded across race, class, sexuality, religion, and more. You too will be absorbed by the people and places that Padre takes you to and eventually, you will come to understand what Padre means to you.
Why the Peace Corps ?
Peace Corps was a great experience and although it was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, I would not exchange it for anything else. It is a part of who I am; my values, my view of the world, my ability to find a way to communicate with people who may or may not want to communicate with me, my more often curiosity instead of fear in the face of the unknown, and my fight for life in general. I would suggest Peace Corps to everyone of all backgrounds and ages, as all backgrounds and ages have been volunteers. You certainly haven't lived until you've almost smoked one with a fellow volunteer old enough to be your grandmother. This is not a promotion of the Peace Corps however for, based on that last comment, it would be a weak one. This is, however, about the great time you can have volunteering abroad - in any way - at any time. Check out my interview put up by the National Peace Corps Association here.
Daring to be Rare (but well done)
I would like to publish "Padre" on my own. E-reading is becoming more and more popular but, by and large, people like the fine print and printing "Padre" to put in bookstores will cost me a lot. We are still as resistant to e-reading as we are to E-ZPass. Therefore, the minimum goal is required to start satisfying all of the ways that people read books. To the right, you'll see that pledges start at $1. Every dollar "Padre" receives is a dollar that didn't exist before. Grateful. Because "Padre" is a book, the goal is really whenever there is no one left to read it. Components of a successful "Padre?" - pledge it, "like" it, post it, share it, tweet it, listserve it, link it, talk about it, comment here, comment there, comment everywhere !
If You Write It . . . . . .
I will create a small team to build my own web/TV/radio/newsprint presence, plan my own Book tours and signings, properly manage the legal aspects of publishing, and establish multiple sales venues through digital, print, and audio so that Padre will have a long and colorful life. I think it also makes sense to offer it in Braille. Getting a grasp on all of the social media platforms and having the time required to manage them creatively will also be a priority. It's not just about Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter although they are the most powerful social media tools these days. There are so many more ways I must reach people. As a participant, you will receive detailed updates along the way so that you can take the publishing journey with me this year, hopefully then be inspired to share your own stories too, and use these updates to create your first book project by the time 2013 is through. If you write it, they will come.
Just as there are many great independent films that don't get the attention they deserve, there are independent writers with great stories that go unshared. If everyone who visits this site gets involved, I can push Padre around the world and back again. Being a multilingual translator as well as a writer, I am my own resource when it comes to book translation and it will be very easy for me to pull together a translation team to translate Padre into all of the languages I know as well as many of the ones I don't know . . . .yet. ; )
Write on? Right on!
Unlike many first-time writers, I am not someone coming to you with a skeleton of an idea that will take years to develop. I have the horse. Now, the breathing-room and resources needed to safeguard my riding before the show. Editing and successfully publishing a manuscript is as time-consuming as editing the footage for a movie and showcasing it from state to state. I can't wait to share all of my travels with you and inspire you through laughter to travel more. Write on? Right on !
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
All of life is a risk & a challenge but, this is a healthy one. Just by coming to this page, you've already opened yourself up regardless of how familiar you already are with many of the cultures of the world. Every person's experience abroad is unique. Everyone has a story and those stories should be heard. My writing is for learning how to support each other, all others, in life's risks and challenges.
Finally, the Comments button at the top of the video is for you ! Tell me how you prefer to read (digital, print, or e-audio).
Super mega won-der-fullllllllll !