The world lost far more than a bunny this month. Sargent Shriver, the founder of Peace Corps, died on January 18. He was 95 and in a hospice care facility in suburban Baltimore (strangely a few miles from my college). In addition to founding the Peace Corps, he was also President Kennedy's brother-in-law, the Ambassador to France and pioneered projects such as Head Start and Job Corps. A truly extraordinary man.
Sometimes, when my day has been rather odd, I look at my life in Mongolia with an acute feeling of self-consciousness and think 'who does this?'. It is rather strange, this idea of moving youngsters around the world and parachuting them into far flung villages and towns in order for them to help people help themselves down the path to a better life. A neat thing but really quite bizarre, too. So I have a lot of reverence for someone like Shriver who saw this brave new idea out of its infancy, inspired by Kennedy's speech to students at the University of Michigan in 1960. He was a true visionary without whom the world wouldn't seem nearly as small or as beautiful as it does today. Thank you, Sargent Shriver. You accomplished in spades what so many of us strive to do: change the world for the better.
For more info on this amazing person, there's a great piece on the Peace Corps website in addition to Bono's eulogy, which was published in the New York Times.