Thursday, March 11, 2010

Light A Candle For Kate Puzey

As most of my readers know, my daughter lived in Togo, West Africa for over two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer teaching HIV/AIDS education and helping to build wells for clean water. She lived in the country during a time when over 40,000 people literally walked out when the president of the country died. She lived by a border and witnessed child trafficking on a daily basis and was unable to stop it. Kate Puzey lived in Benin, West Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer after my daughter's term was up. She tried to stop child trafficking and it cost Kate her life. Please read my post, light a candle and complete a day's service in honor of Kate. Please do this for yourself, in honor of Kate and her friends and family, and for children all over the world who are not safe in their own homes.

Peace Corps Family,

One year ago we lost Kate Puzey, a volunteer serving in Badjoude to a senseless act of violence. As we mourn her death on March 11th we need to also celebrate her life and what it stood for.

At Kate's funeral, many were moved at how amazing her family was and even in her death how they still stressed the importance of her service.

As PCVs it is now our obligation to continue in her honor. Pick a day or even, an hour, in or around the 11th and commit to continue the legacy Kate did her entire life. Please feel free to mention how and where you will be making such a commitment on the wall below.

Also, if you would like to make a monetary donation, please consider her commemorative fund through Peace Corps Benin. You will find further instructions on the wall as well.

Finally, Kate's family is also planning a way for us to memorialize her around the world. Please take a look at the youtube video linked below.

From Facebook

Light A Candle For Kate Puzey

Slain Peace Corps Volunteer's Family Speaks

Atlanta Peace Corps Volunteer Killed In Africa

CUMMING, Ga. -- Kate Puzey’s parents have endured a year of heartache. They lost their daughter under tremendously difficult circumstances, and felt they couldn’t get the answers they needed about her death.

Kate was the kind of daughter any family would be proud of: positive in spirit, a quiet leader (student council president twice), and a citizen of the world who wanted to affect change by helping people hand in hand. She chose the Peace Corps and committed to two years as an English teacher in the west African nation of Benin.
Her connection to her students was evident in the photographs her family shared with Channel 2 Action News reporter Linda Stouffer. Harry Puzey, her father, told Stouffer, “They loved her, and she loved them.”
But two months before her homecoming, on March 11, 2009, she was killed.

For the past year the Puzey’s have struggled to understand the circumstances. They have also kept details quiet, out of tremendous respect for the Peace Corps and the legal process underway in Benin. However, now they are speaking out, to draw attention to her courage and life of service.
Lois Puzey said Kate believed several students had been sexually exploited by a local national employee. Kate apparently struggled with how best to handle the situation, then decided to anonymously report her suspicious. Lois told Stouffer, “The students and the teachers came to her and said can you help us here to try to do something, and in doing that, she put herself in harm’s way. Within a few days of her anonymously trying to get the word out to the right authorities, she was murdered.”
Kate’s parents are just back from a whirlwind series of meetings in Washington, D.C. They are trying to be “Kate’s voice” through a difficult process. They hope to see a conviction in local courts in Benin, but they also want the Peace Corps to be, in Lois’ words: “The Peace Corps Kate believed in: one that’s transparent, efficient and respects and protects and empowers their volunteers.”
The Peace Corps would not provide details of the death of their volunteer. They told Stouffer in an e-mail “The investigation into the death of Kate Puzey is ongoing. The Department of State, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Beninese government are collaborating on this investigation.”
Kate’s parents believe several men are in custody, including the man she anonymously accused. Lois Puzey plans to attend the trial in Benin, which she thinks will take place in November.
In the meantime, Kate’s friends and family are circulating loving tributes… through YouTube and Facebook. Several hundred people have committed to a day of service in her honor.
“She was an absolute joy for us from the day she was born until the day she died. I called her my sunshine girl,” Lois Puzey said.


  1. My prayers go out to Kate Puzey, her friends and family. I will be doing my service by tutoring underprivileged children for a day, in reading and math.

  2. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. It is so moving. We all need to do our part.

  3. Thanks for posting this. I volunteer with my local OneBrick affiliate from time to time ... I'll try to find something appropriate for this weekend.

  4. What a story, and a tragic loss of such an inspirational person.

  5. I didn't know about this. I'm sorry.

  6. I just completed two hours of service this morning, working with under privileged children. There are so many children in need, every time I leave, I feel I should have done just a little more...

    Thanks for posting this. Kate's contribution was great, her sun will continue to shine in the lives of the children she touched.

    Praying for justice for Kate.

  7. Thank you for the gift of Kate - I first read the post right after it was up on your blog and Kate and her family have been on my mind ever since - certainly a sign that tt was time to come back and let you know how deeply touched and grateful I am that you have brought this corageous young woman and her family into my consciousness.

  8. Thanks for sharing this! Thank goodness for people like Kate and your daughter. Putting themselves in harm's way to help make this world a better place. Sometimes life does not make sense.

  9. My heart aches for such wonderful people being cast away like a disposable commodity, by the wolves in this world.

  10. I posted this on my facebook page. Thanks for having such a big heart.

  11. Thanks for posting this tribute to Kate and the selfless work she did to make things better for others.

  12. You haven't posted in awhile, I hope all is well. Maybe this means you got that travel gig?!?


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