Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Tulane Sig Ep Peace Corps Volunteer Matt Costa Dies in Boating Accident in Mali

Tulane Sig Ep Matt Costa Dies in Boating Accident in Mali

Here is the Peace Corps press release/message concerning Matt Costa:
Sent: Monday, September 04, 2006 8:39 AM
To:PC Global
Subject: From the Director: Peace Corps Volunteers Justin W. Brady and Matthew S. Costa
To: All Peace Corps
From: Gaddi H. Vasquez, Director

Subject: Peace Corps Volunteers Justin W. Brady and Matthew S. Costa
It is with great sadness that I inform you that we have lost two members of our Peace Corps family. On Sunday afternoon in Mali, Volunteers Justin W. Brady and Matthew S. Costa died as a result of a boating accident on the Niger River in Bamako.

Justin W. Brady was 27-years old from Philomath, Oregon. He graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Construction Engineering Management. Justin joined the Peace Corps in January of 2005 and served as a water sanitation extension agent in the village of Donthieribougou in the region of Koulikoro. He addressed the serious human health challenges common throughout Mali by working alongside members of the community to build a well, improve latrines, and construct soak pits and hand washing stations. He cared about the difficult challenges faced by Malian women and involved over 200 of them in a gardening project to increase their income and improve their nutrition. He also introduced a millet grinder to the community of Kita, trained 15 men in pump maintenance, educated youth about AIDS
prevention, and taught English at a local school.

Before joining the Peace Corps, Justin wrote, "I want to know what it is like to live, and work, and eat, and smell, and sleep in a place that is outside of everything I have known so far. I want to gain the experiences of another part of the world, and at the same time, try to give back as much as I've been given."

Matthew S. Costa was 24-years old from Cheshire, Connecticut. He graduated from Tulane University with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy in 2003. Matthew was first assigned to Peace Corps Chad from 2003 - 2005 where he served as an English teacher. He extended his Peace Corps service and transferred to Mali in November of 2005 to become a small enterprise development Volunteer serving in the village of Kati in the region of Koulikoro. During that time, he was a high school English teacher and organized training for other teachers in the community.

Matthew was widely recognized in his community as the host of a popular local radio show featuring American music, fulfilling the Peace Corps' second goal of cultural exchange. He also worked to improve the radio station's marketing strategy. In addition, Matthew was engaged in the community by playing on a local soccer team and distributing donations of sporting equipment.

In his aspiration statement, Matthew described his hope that his experience as a Volunteer would "not only broaden my perspective on the human race but will make me more understanding of the problems and strengths of other people and cultures."

Their passing is a tremendous loss for the Peace Corps and for the people of Mali. I hope you will join with me in remembering Justin and Matthew and their families in your thoughts and prayers.

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There have been several e-mails from Tulane brothers expressing their great loss and speaking of Matt's enthusiasm for life, willingness to serve, and desire to improve the world in which he lived.

The memorial service for Matt Costa will be on Sunday at 2:30 at Weinstein Mortuary in Hartford, CT. It will be followed by a reception that the Costa family would like all friends at the service to attend. Also, there is going to be a slide show of Matt's life and his mother would greatly appreciate any pictures that may be included.

Matt's mom is looking into a charity for Mali children. Donations could be made in leiu of flowers etc. The email address of Pam Cameron, Matt's mom is plcathome@hotmail.com. Her home address is Pam Cameron, 15 Florence Way, Farmington CT 06032.

Many Tulane Sig Eps are planning to travel to Connecticut to celebrate Matt's life.

The chapter is planning a New Orleans memorial service for Matt Costa will be held tonight night at the Sig Ep Chapter house, 7223 Zimple Street. Please wear coat and tie if you plan on attending.

This is one of those moments when our cardinal principles of virtue, diligence, and brothertly love take on a deeper meaning for each of us. Let us each, in our own way, pause and celebrate this fine young man's life and willingness to serve in a small corner of the world without any fanfare - to "not only broaden my perspective on the human race but to make me more understanding of the problems and strengths of other peoples and cultures."

"Well done, thou good and faithful servant." and let us all remember 1-31-49.