Layne Pfaffenberger

Layne Pfaffenberger

Layne Marie Pfaffenberger, center

June 15, 1969 – November 21, 1993

Layne and her close friend Colby Williams were killed when the small commuter airplane they were in crashed in the mountains of Guatemala. Colby had gone to visit Layne who was volunteering in the town of Santa Cruz with the Peace Corps. Layne was working with the area’s schools and local children teaching English and environmental studies. Layne graduated from Texas A&M University and Layne’s parents and two younger brothers lived in Houston, Texas at the time.

Some excerpts from Layne’s letters sent home to friends:

March 1993

“So wow, here I am in Guatemala! The past 3 weeks have felt like forever. I am in such a different world now. It is absolutely incredible here!”

“I love the way they prioritize things here. I may have holes in my ceiling and no glass windowpane for my window, but we do have a flushing toilet, a shower, and hot water!”

“There are 28 people in my training class and they are all really great people.”

“We get our site assignments the first week in April – that is only 3 more weeks! Then I will know where I will be living for the next couple of years.”

August 1993

“Can you believe I am in the Peace Corps, living in Guatemala, and speaking Spanish? I remember that I used to tell my parents I was gonna do this… I was only halfway serious then, but here I am! Sometimes I wonder how it happened – it seemed like such a long process but suddenly I have been here for 6 months already! At any rate, it’s pretty cool.”

“Where I am living is a beautiful mountain rain/cloud forest. Cool and rainy – beautiful wilderness, beautiful weather, wonderful people, and (thank God) not many tourists!”

“I have plenty of friends – the volunteers and the locals. Pretty cool.”

“I wish everyone could come down here for a while so that they could see and understand, but I realize I’m dreaming.”

September 1993

“I just found out yesterday that 2 of my very good friends from our training group have decided to early terminate rather than stay here, and are leaving Guatemala on Friday…we just got here and already 3 of my best friends have left…at this rate who’s gonna be left after 2 years? Will I even make it? Some frustrating days I even wonder. But I’m not ready to give up the ship yet, at least. As hard and as lonely as it may be I’m hangin’ in there for a while longer.”

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One Response to Layne Pfaffenberger

  1. Milton Chavarria September 17, 2021 at 10:23 pm #

    Hola buenas no hes, tuve el gusto de cono er y apoyar Layne, cuando vino de Voluntaria aquí a Santa Cruz Veránpaz, dejó gratos recuerdos. Esa vez yo iba a viaja con . Layne y Colby a Tikal, ella ya me había ofrecido ese viaje porque le apoye bastante, pero por razones de estudio en la Universidad no pude viajar con ellos. Saludos a la familia.