The death of the young volunteer with CRS, Kristel, calls my attention to
(1) the aid and development workers and volunteers who immediately responded in the aftermath of Haiyan and who continue to be in the area for the ongoing rehabilitation. Unfortunately, the only time the public, whether here or internationally, becomes aware of this group of workers is when someone or other in the group is kidnapped, killed, or infected with deadly disease;
(2) Kristel did not die at the CRS frontline but rather as a volunteer with her Church on her off-day in the preparations for the Mass with Pope Francis that Saturday at Tacloban airport. CRS said of her, she traveled a great distance to volunteer at today’s papal Mass and to remember the victims of Haiyan. It’s a four hours or so travel from Eastern Samar, where she was stationed, to Tacloban City. The words of Rebecca Solnit in The Art of Arrival popped up in my head:
She walked all the way to the end of her journey and met the sunset on her feet. Few nowadays are granted such a complete arc, such a full day.
These lines do not sit well with the researcher part of me, as I may be romanticizing what appears to be death from accident. But, there are certain questions which even science has no answer for like why this young woman? why must someone die when everybody else is rejoicing? so we look under the carpets for the next best thing, meaning.