Roberta Worrick, my Senior year English teacher at The Mountain School, wrote novels and short stories set in Africa under the name of Maria Thomas; she was a Peace Corps Writer, having volunteered in Ethiopia in 1971-73. Roberta, her husband Jeff, U.S. Congressman Mickey Leland (D-TX; he represented my congressional district in Houston) and 11 others died in a plane crash in Ethiopia on August 7, 1989. May they rest in peace.
Right now - in the middle of 2011, parts of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are facing one of the worst droughts in 60 years, and nearly 12 million people are desperately in need of food, clean water and basic sanitation. The flight which Roberta, Jeff and Mickey and the others were on was to bring food aid, too, to the Horn of Africa.
Robert came to TMS after having just graduated from Mount Holyoke. She was slim and short and looked younger than the teen agers she taught. Roberta introduced me to the poet, Denise Levertov.