Today I leave India once and for all, to return to St. Louis. I am full of every kind of emotion, but the predominant feeling is anticipation. Anticipation to reunite with my loved ones, to be back in a fully equipped kitchen, and to sit down to work with all of the amazing source material that I’ve gathered here in Himachal Pradesh.
Here’s a logistical update/timeline for the project:
– Right now, our interpreter/translator Choekyi is digging into the interviews she expertly facilitated for me. The poor thing not only had to live the stories twice per interview, but she now gets to hear them again AND express them again, in English. Diligent lady. Choekyi is averaging three transcripts a week, so I should have all of the material translated and ready for reading within two months. Also, I believe that the steady flow of interviews to my inbox will help keep everything fresh in my mind.
– Some of this material will be uploaded on the website – which by the way, is going to be redone within the next two months to be more like a website and less like a blog – so stay tuned for some samples of the women’s stories. There is also a lot more media (including video of prayers and debate at Dolma Ling!) that, due to very slow internet connections in the cafes of McLeod Ganj, are still fidgeting impatiently on my computer, waiting to be uploaded for all of you to see. Expect these in the next few weeks.
Friends! Our goal has been reached!
Just a moment ago, the final $10.00 of Restored Voice Project’s Kickstarter.com goal of $5,500 was pledged. This means that, in five minutes, when I walk down my rainy South St. Louis streets to FedEx and send along my visa application, the large fee that I’m fronting will soon be a part of the project’s budget. Then in five weeks, when I’m flying to India, I’ll have the funds I need for those planes, trains, and rikshas. And in five months, when I’m returning from India with the women’s photography and narratives in hand, I’ll have supplied the perfect camera, recording device, and translator for the job. (And for those of you who are picturing me shivering all alone in the mountains, rest assured that I’ll be able to afford a good yak’s wool blanket! No living in a Dharamsalan cardboard box this winter)
I can’t thank all of you enough – for supporting the project, for spreading the word, and for investing in this creative, empowering, educational project. Once it’s in our hands, it will be different than any other book we’ve read – not only because it’s a one-of-a-kind project, but also because we chose to make it a reality.
I am humbled, amazed, and thrilled. Ready, Set, Launch!
photo property of Tibetan Nuns Project
The response to this project has been even more enthusiastic that I imagined. From only 20 backers, I am already more than a quarter closer to Restored Voice Project’s goal. Backers from both the Eastern and Western hemispheres have pledged. I am humbled by this generosity as well as excited by how tangible RVP is beginning to feel. I am more confident than ever that the goal will be reached. What I hope is that you, my community, will continue to spread the word about this project – I think we can reach beyond the minimum goal!
I’ve also done an edit of the video – quickened it up, cleaned it up, and added some Himalayan-inspired music. Take another peek, if you haven’t seen it already! As a writer, I must say that it’s definitely worth it to compose second drafts. And I’m sure all of my past teachers would agree.
And for that video, here I must thank Alex Nezam and Billy Engel (my videographer who put so many hours of work into this, and my creative sound engineer with much expertise, respectively). This video looks much neater and more creative than it would have if I’d been left to deliver my message via -smart-phone-recording.
Keep passing the message along – this project is really taking off!