Patch’s Letter of Invitation to ClownVets

Dear Vets,

What a thrill to write you and invite you to come and play with me and 10 other clowns and healers for a week long clown trip to Guatemala. I am a family doctor for 44 years and a clown for 52 years. I’ve always been a free doctor. For 30 years I have led clown trips all over the world, a total of 150. We allow anyone to come. We don’t require any skill of any kind. We have taken ages 3 – 88 from 50 countries, about 6000 people. We have gone into five war zones, many refugee camps, and huge disaster areas.

I have noticed that whoever goes is remarkably changed by the experience. We visit great suffering with love and fun. It is a great reward to see oneself relieve another’s suffering. The massive amount of play everywhere, with a troupe of clowns, is so enriching and uplifting. We have taken many who were suffering – or felt life wasn’t great for them and the trip turned them around. I remember three vets who told me it set their life back in order.

We have gotten the funding to take 10 vets and 11 staff to Guatemala City for 1 week to stay in the perfect hotel, where we have led clown trips for 7 years. We are close friends with the Fabricas, a 6000-member clown troupe in Guatemala, some of whom join us at our stops. We visit two places each day, staying together as a group at all times. Each Veteran will have an experienced staff (clown) buddy matched up with them to clown with.

We all eat together (the hotel holds only us). We will conduct clown classes initially and other workshops later to familiarize everyone with community clowning and its effects on those we meet and on us! This is a trial trip with Veterans to just see what happens to each of us. It’s never been done before and we are very excited about the possibilities of growth and health for all of us as we share the experience together.

We will help with ideas for costumes and props — think what your interests are. Are they music and dance, or perhaps puppets, or singing? Don’t worry about being ‘good’ or inexperienced! You will find the events themselves spark so many possibilities for meaningful interactions. Juggling, balloons, whoopee cushions, instruments, sketch pad, stickers, singing (even badly) — it’s all perfect. Please consider the gamble; come and play with us.

I am a World War II baby, May 28th, 1945. My first 16 years I grew up on military bases, mostly out of the US. The only people I knew were on the Army base. My father fought most of World War 2, and all of Korea, and I remember him coming home from Korea a shell of a man. He never recovered. I know you can recover—I believe in you, and the power of love and fun are enchanting.

Let’s give it a go.




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