Diana Hess

Memories of "Dee"

shared by Jackie Mackay
RPCV Kenya 1981-1983

I served in Kenya as a teacher 1981-1983, at the same time as Diane "Dee" Hess. She was a tiny, slender woman with a shock of blonde hair and more energy than any ten people together. Vivacious and popular with rapid fire speech, lots of laughter and even more friends, she was an RWE who worked on woman's rural development projects in the Machokos district, east of Nairobi. A neighbor gave her a puppy but failed to mention that the mother had died of rabies, endemic in Kenya. The puppy disappeared and she never learned how it had died. Her small stature allowed the rabies to take her swiftly. But her death helped save other volunteers. We had all been vaccinated against rabies. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) came to investigate why the the live vaccine had failed to protect her. It turned out that the vaccine had been improperly stored on its journey and none of us were protected. A simple delay combined with a lack of refrigeration caused her vulnerability. It all seemed so terribly unfair. All the volunteers and the Peace Corps staff in Kenya during that period were profoundly affected by Diana's death. And laughter came less easily and less often.

Diana Hess Memorial Fund

Bloomberg School of Public Health
Johns Hopkins University

Established in 1983 by family and friends in memory of Ms. Hess, a former Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya devoted to improving public health in Africa. The fund supports students in the Department of International Health preparing for field work in Africa.

For more information, contact the Office of Development, Bloomberg School of Public Health. Phone: 410-955-5194. Email: dev@jhsph.edu.

If you are a friend or family member of this volunteer and would like to contribute a picture, a story, or something different, please send an email to webmaster@fpcv.org.

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