Thursday, April 19, 2007

Julia in the Philippines

No, this is not a scrapbooking entry. Nor is it a happy one. But my blog's title is to live, love and laugh. And to live, we also have to experience death.

When I read and heard the news about the shootings in Virginia Tech, I sent a prayer to the 33 people who died senselessly. But it didn't really affect me so much, you know. Since it happened thousands of miles away, in a place and with people I know little about.

When I read in the news that the body of Julia Campbell, a peace corps volunteer in the Philippines has been found, I couldn't hold back my tears. Reading her blog again where she talks about her love of my country and with her last entry "Buhay Pa Tayo" had me sobbing uncontrollably. I don't really know Julia Campbell aside from what I have read in her blog, but this just hits too close to home.

Julia and I are both turning 40 this year (or she would have.) She left the rat race of New York to join the Peace Corps for Manila. If not for wanting not to leave my family behind, I would now be one of the rats in New York. I also briefly toyed with the idea of being a UN Volunteer in Sudan but unlike her, I wasn't brave enough. The worst of it all is, she died in Batad, my most favorite place in the world, where the people are warm and friendly, where the magnificent rice terraces almost reach the sky and embrace the small village nested within. I still cannot believe that something so horrific could have happened in that peaceful village.

My sincerest prayers go with Julia who was already supposed to go back home to her family and friends. In her blog profile she asked that we wish her luck. I am so so sorry that that luck had to end here in my beloved Philippines.

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