Published: May 28th 2008April 20th 2007
Hi all, and I know....long time no hear from!
I won't go into a lot of detail here, only to say first off, as we
wrap up our project here in the Philippines, the remaining 9 of us in
the Hands On house are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of our
friend and fellow American, Julia Campbell. Julia was somone who had
touched each of our lives in some way, shape or form. She was a Peace
Corp volunteer here for the past two years in the nearby "big city" of
Legazpi. This is the place that for the first three months I was here,
we had to travel to to get to internet, do any sort of shopping other
than for mangoes or "Asian market food," or treat ourselves to
delicious brownies at a corner bakery. Julia, as many or all of you by
now have probably heard by now, had gone missing after hiking amongst
the rice terraces in a place called Banaue in northern Luzon,
Philippines. Sadly, this is the place for a number of weeks now I have
been thinking of heading to after the project ends, just to see and
experience a different part of this incredible country. Her lifeless
body was found just a few days ago and the authorities are not yet
saying but are suspecting foul play.
I knew Julia. She had taken me to a place in mid-January where
hundreds of families were relocated after their homes were destroyed
by Typhoon Reming (Durian as some of you know the name as). We had
lunch together a time or two as well. The last time I saw Julia was a
month ago. As a group, the majority of the Hands ON crew (15 or 18 of
us at the time) and 10 Peace Corp volunteers went to Donsol, in
Sorsogon, about 2 hours from here. We spent a long weekend there, to
celebrate "Irish style" for St Patty's Day, to paint the Marine Center
Julia was quite involved in and also to swim with the whale sharks. It
was a wonderful mini-vacation and nice to see her again.
If you have seen or followed the headlines on CNN, Fox, USA Today and
many other major news media, you know what I am talking about. Just
know that this is someone I considered a friend, a good-hearted, kind
and genuine person. A very sad week for all of us here in the
Philippines. We all have much support from our neighbors who are
equally as sad and keeping us informed by what they hear or see
on..yes, the TV!
More on another day.