Peace Corps Fatality in Tanzania

 
 

A Peace Corps Volunteer died recently in Tanzania in a rock climbing incident.  Joseph Chow, 23 from Scarsdale, NY died in southern Tanzania after previously serving in Kenya until their program was suspended.  He then transferred to the Tanzania program and served as an education volunteer until his death on September 23, 2009.

You can read more about the article here:  http://peacecorpsonline.typepad.com/peacecorpsonline/2009/09/peace-corps-mourns-the-loss-of-tanzania-volunteer-joseph-chow.html

Fortunately, during my service I didn’t have to go through anything like this.  Peace Corps is already a difficult experience without something tragic like this happening.  I can’t imagine what the other PCV’s, PC Staff, his friends, and students are going through.  I hate to hear about unfortunate accidents like this during a PCV’s service.  It is also difficult for families who send off their loved ones assuming that they will be safe.  It goes to show that accidents can happen anytime, anywhere, and you never know when your time will come.  You just never expect it will come at a time when you are so young and experiencing some thing so great.

After my Peace Corps service I traveled through Central America.  I was on a secluded beach swimming with a friend when the tides came in and started to pull us out.  We were in a huge cove and no matter how hard we swam we just couldn’t get back to shore.  I remember swimming on my back, swallowing water, losing my breath, and I looked around and thought, “Is this where I die?”  I’ve never asked my self that question before but I was at the point where it could have went either way.  Luckily, both my friend and I made it back in but I’ll never forget that feeling.  Even on the most beautiful beach, where you think you are safe, where death is the last thing you are thinking of, it can creep up on you, and remind you that you are vulnerable when you least expect it.

Good luck to those who knew Joseph, I’m sure he was a wonderful person.  The Peace Corps community, whether current PCV’s or RPCV’s, we are all thinking of Joseph.  Peace Corps was the greatest experience of my life and I will be forever grateful for my time as a PCV.  I bet Joseph felt the same way about his time as a PCV, like most of us do.

 

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