Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sophia Mitchell is Missing


Sophia Mitchell, New York City, from our Group 78 has been sick with intestinal problems since before December. She has lost 30 pounds with intermittent trips to the local hospital. Two weeks ago she was flown to Hawaii for further tests and treatment. The Peace Corps decided her condition is chronic and did not want her to continue as a Peace Corps Volunteer. This news was not only a blow to Sophia, but also to her fellow Group 78 volunteers and to her small village.

Sophia had really clicked with her village of Mauga (mountain in Samoan). This village of less than 100 people encircles an ancient crater. The stars and mountains are its backdrop. Sophia had several projects underway. She was starting a preschool, had brought the Red Cross to train on health issues, got a grant for school books for the preschool, and had painted a map of the world on preschool wall. Her love of children and the villager’s love for her were apparent when I visited her (see my blog DATE). She was just hitting her stride when illness overtook her.

Our Group 78 considers itself special. We all have a dream of successfully complete our 27 months of together. Maybe we are an arrogant and idealistic group, but let’s face it, we are damn good! No matter what we may feel about out manifest destiny, we as mortals cannot long escape the fickle finger of fate.

Sophia, born in Jamaica, has a natural flair. Her smile, her colorful outfits, her hairstyle, her passion for Hot Tamale candies, her concerns for others; all this and more is Sophia. She shall continue somewhere to finish the work she started in Mauga on the Samoan island of Savaii. Sophia may have left Samoa, but she is still part of Group 78. Even though she is missing, she is not gone. She is our “Taupou”*.

*Title given to a village maiden for her charm, looks and manners. Among her duties is the preparation of kava during important ceremonies.

1 comment:

Barb Carusillo said...

This is a wonderful testimony to a remarkable sounding young woman. It makes me want to meet her, and your whole great group #78. I hope that this bug she has will eventually go away, and not give her a constant not so pleasant reminder of her time in Samoa.