Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Chilling days in a warm climate

8 days ago now Julia Campbell went missing. Since then we've had search teams, peace corps has posted 2000 flyers in the area, and offered a 500,000peso reward ($10,000) and still nothing. She was last seen hiking alone.

It might be easier to be optimistic about this if an American girl drew less attention. But if people had seen her, they would remember her. They're probably gossip and exadurate about her, and by sunset half the people in the area would know that an american girl was visiting. That's what happens when an american visits a small filipino community. She should be easy to find.

Right now I'm on my way to Manila, where there is a 3-day meeting regarding this. Peace Corps Director Tschetter arrives in country tomorrow for the meeting. Frankly I'm not sure what this meeting will be - will they be trying to comfort us? Trying to make a show of unity? Will they lecture us on safety and security? I don't know. I guess I'll find out.

I didn't know Julia well. I met her a few times, and she briefly worked with me as an editor of the Kwan. But I hope we find her. I lit a candle for her the other night. I Woke up in the morning to see Julia's candle replaced by a puddle of dried wax and a saucer scarred by burn-marks. I confess, the gesture offered me little comfort. But I hope.

Today, as I prepare to leave for this gathering in manila, my spirits have been further dampened to read about the shooting at VA Tech, which effectively dwarfs the situation that has been occupying my thoughts and fears these last days.

And it makes me think of Iraq, of Africa, of Lebanon, and reminds me that tragedies such as this aren't new. They've always been present and on a massive, sickening scale. Sometimes they just seem closer and more personal than others. Being reminded of that, well that can almost feel worse than if tragedy was new to the world.

Anyway, this is just a ramble. Stay safe everyone,

1 comment:

K Villa said...

Thank you for the tribute. Do visit http://www.juliacampbellampark.org/, Asipulo, Ifugao's own tribute to this great soul.