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Starksboro couple to share 50,000-mile adventure at Bristol library

BRISTOL —Christiane Kokubo and Nate Shepard came up with a novel idea for their honeymoon — drive from Nate’s home in Starksboro, Vt., to Christiane’s home in São Paulo, Brazil, raise one dollar for each kilometer of the journey, and donate the proceeds to a health clinic for the underserved in Vermont.
The couple will share this adventure, which they call From Home – Para Casa, on Thursday evening, March 15, at the Lawrence Memorial Library in Bristol. The event, hosted by One World Library Project and sponsored by The Vermont Humanities Council, is free, handicapped accessible and open to the public.
Kokubo and Shepard came to know the undocumented Latino population in Vermont through their work at the Open Door Clinic (ODC), a small, non-profit, volunteer-staffed, free health clinic for the uninsured and under-insured in Addison County. More than 60 percent of the ODC patient population are Mexican and Guatemalan dairy farm workers. Through their involvement at the ODC, the couple heard stories, made friendships and became interested in visiting Mexico en route to Brazil. They decided to use their travels as an opportunity to raise funds for the ODC.
The year-long trip began in September of 2016, with adventures throughout North, Central, and South America. Kokubo and Shepard enriched their lives along the way. They gained insight into the Cherokee Nation at the Annual Cherokee Indian Fair in North Carolina, found inspiration at the vacation house of writer Gabriel García Márquez in Aracataca, Colombia, and were forced to bribe numerous police officers in Mexico City to prevent their car getting impounded.
Kokubo comments, “Many of the most vivid moments come just as we are leaving. From a parking space, from a beer store, just driving past, fleeting images, conversations, snippets that por-tray a rich story of place, culture, and reality.”
Nate Shepard is a Spanish teacher at Mount Abe Union High School. Christiane Kokubo is the communication specialist at the Open Door Clinic in Middlebury, and she is also a freelance journalist.
The upcoming presentation will focus on how Kokubo and Shepard expanded their understanding of the cultures they experienced while traveling from Vermont to Brazil. Time will be available at the end for questions. The blog they created about From Home – Para Casa, Shepard writing in English while Kokubo wrote in her native Portuguese, can be found at fromhomeparacasa.com/.
For more information on this event or about One World Library Project, contact the Lawrence Memorial Library at 802-453-2366 or go to OneWorldLibraryProject.org or the One World Library Project Facebook page.

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