Peace Corps Mourns the Loss of Volunteers Justin Brady and Matthew Costa
September 6, 2006WASHINGTON, D.C., September 6, 2006 Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez announced today with deep sadness the deaths of Justin Brady, 27, and Matthew Costa, 24, both of whom were serving in Mali. The deaths were a result of a boating accident on the Niger River in Bamako on Sunday.
Justin hailed from Philomath, Ore. He graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree 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.
Matt was from Cheshire, Conn. He graduated from Tulane University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy in 2003. Matt was first assigned to Peace Corps/Chad from 2003-05 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 in the village of Kati in the region of Koulikoro.
"The deaths of Justin Brady and Matthew Costa are a tragic loss to everyone who knew these two outstanding volunteers," said Director Vasquez. "Both of these men left legacies in their host communities, and in the Peace Corps, that will not be forgotten."
During his time in the Peace Corps, Justin worked alongside members of the community to build a well, improve latrines, and construct soak pits and hand washing stations. He took an interest in the challenges faced by Malian women and involved over 200 of them in a gardening project to increase their income and improve their nutrition.
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."
Matt was widely recognized in his community as the host of a popular local radio show featuring American music. He also worked to improve the radio station's marketing strategy. For his primary assignment, Matt taught high school English and organized training for other teachers in the community.
Before joining Peace Corps, Matt 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."