Saturday, April 21, 2007


Last week, news reports talked about Julia Campbell, a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Phillippines who was missing; and then her body was found, evidently revealing that she'd been murdered. Campbell's death didn't make the headlines in the week that was.

I'm sad for Campbell's family. In the release, she sounds like a good PCV, someone who was working hard to make a positive difference.

There are no Peace Corps cheers, no bands, no shared color symbolism. Peace Corps Volunteers' deaths are remembered by family, by other volunteers, and by the local people with whom the volunteer worked. But the memories tend to be separated; PCVs don't tend to gather in large crowds to hold candlelight vigils because they're usually separated by travel distances from other volunteers, working with local people rather than other volunteers. PCVs don't tend to know the family of other PCVs, and the family members don't know the community (though some visit, and so know a little).


Last night, I went for a bit to the campus "Relay for Life" event (to raise money for cancer research) because there was a memorial part for my colleague's partner. At one point, student readers read names, in memory of, or in honor of, people who've died of cancer or who are being treated for cancer.

I couldn't help but remember one of the PCVs I knew in country, a guy who was pretty much admired for his work. He'd had cancer as a child, and then, in his 20s, he suddenly had bone cancer and died within a very short time. At least, that's how it seemed to me; we heard rumor that he'd been med-evaced to the US and then a week or two later, the office sent out telegrams or something to inform us PCVs that he'd died there of bone cancer.

Fade to black.

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