Long story short
I started writing Pho for Three, a memoir of our adventures, soon after we returned from our first trip to Vietnam in 2007. I was slightly misguided on why we should be going and how much money it might actually require, but on Christmas 2006 we said goodbye to family and took off for Southeast Asia with $13 in my pocket and no return tickets.
We left and didn't look back, spending two months volunteering in Tam Ky. We met children whose disabilities exiled them from their families, others who'd lost their fathers in the all-too-frequent typhoons, and some with single mothers who could not keep them.I learned to love the orphans more than I would have thought possible. I learned, too, just how much I love my own children.
We went on to live in a hotel in Hanoi while I searched for work and at the last possible moment, found work teaching Engish in Thanh Hoa. Over the seven months in Vietnam, everything I'd ever thought, believed and expected completely changed and our lives haven't been the same since.
READ A SNIPPET FROM OUR STORY HERE
The Big Idea
What kicked off this idea to do a crowdfunding campaign was the need to get my book finished, edited and published. I'm on the second revision now and have lined up editing with two capable editors (one a developmental editor, the other is a copyeditor).
I work with a kick-ass writers group and they've helped me through more drafts than I'd like to admit. But through it all, they and the friends around me have supported this book project and encourage me to share our story of single parenting, traveling abroad and the dilemma of orphanages and international adoptions. I'm finally getting around to making it happen.
It's more than just my book, it's about people I love
There is no way I could do this if I didn't have a bigger reason--the people I love in Vietnam.
We will be donating 10% to each of two causes that are incredibly dear to me. The first is the Children of Vietnam, a non-profit based in South Carolina, USA. They are the organization who provides formula and supplies for the orphanages we worked with in Tam Ky. It was through their efforts that the physically disabled kids got medical care and that the babies were fed well. You can donate directly through their website or via this campaign.
The other is Mrs. Hanh's dream to open a restaurant, something I cannot be more proud of. Mrs. Hanh was our lovely cook in Tam Ky and she has served up the best Vietnamese and fusion dishes to hundreds of GVN volunteers over the years. I love this woman and want to do whatever I can to help her acheive her goal. She is currently at about $20k of her $50k goal and the building of her restaurant has started.
These two projects that will be simultaneously funded through this campaign.
But wait, there's more!
If you know me, you know I can't seem to sit still for more than a few minutes and while I'm busily writing and sewing perks for you guys (yes, really) I'm also figuring out other ways to help out there and spread the word about the help that is needed.
I'm organizing a sew-along to make clothes for the kids there, and hoping that somehow we can raise the funds to not just mail the clothes through DHL, but to deliver them in person once again. It would be our fourth return trip to the orphanages and this time we've recruited help with the videography and photography. If (and I know it's a big if) we can make it happen, we'll tag along with Children of Vietnam to deliver the goods and return to make a short documentary focusing on the effects of closing Vietnam to international adoptions by most coutries in the world. [Soon after we returned to the States in late 2007, Vietnamese adoptions were shut down for all but a few countries.]
Many of the orphans that were there with us in 2007 and when we returned to Vietnam in 2009 are still in the orphanages today.
There are benefits for you, as well!
Not only do you get that lovely I-did-something-good-today feeling, you will get a little bit of Vietnam with all the perks. Just some of the things we'll be giving you in return:
- no surprise here--a copy of my book, Pho for Three, available in ebook and print. I'll even sign it if you want me to.
- a copy of Audrey's book, "A Trip to the Market" that she wrote and illustrated, translated by Man and Ha, former students.
- handmade thank-you cards
- a limited-edition handbound Pho for Three cookbook with 15+ Vietnamese recipes that I learned and loved while living there.
- one of four mini-quilts featuring scenes of Vietnam.
- recycled rice bag totes
- a dinner made by me for you
- and for you high rollers, a chance to come with us to Vietnam.
Don't want the book but still wanna help?
So, maybe you're not into memoirs. Or you just don't care about the big story. I totally get it and can't take offense that you still want to help out our little buddies in Vietnam. Here are a few ways:
- Head over to our website at phoforthree.com and donate via Paypal.
- Spread the word about our campaign on Facebook and Twitter.
- Buy either book through our site.
- Donate directly to Children of Vietnam through their site.
- Or specifically for Mrs. Hanh's project (be sure to leave a comment to tell us what you want the money to go to!)