Remembering Samantha, our dear friend and colleague

by Laura Arcari

Ten years ago, on this day, we at IFAD, lost a dear friend and colleague. In the last 10 years, many things have changed. However, one thing that has not changed is our love for Samantha. Today we honored her life…..

Monday 15 April marks the tenth anniversary of the untimely passing of our colleague and friend Samantha Santoni. Samantha passed away on 15 April 2003 after a battling struggle against leukemia at the age of thirty and she continues to be a strong presence in many of our hearts.

Samantha was a beautiful ray of sunshine full of positivity; she loved her family, friends, animals and nature. Her favorite flower was in fact the sunflower, its yellow color symbolizing happiness and vitality. The sunflower is also symbolic of spiritual faith and worship as it moves itself towards the direction of the sun so it can get the maximum life-giving rays. Sami, as most of her intimate friends would remember her by, had a passion for the spirituality, her diary initiated with tribal verses from the American Indian tribes and she often gave dream-catchers as presents, she read books on Buddhism and collected angels (Angelica).

Long before IFAD introduced the concept of open space work environment, Sami worked at the telecommunications on the ground floor next to the garage in an open office connected to the cold Computer Processing Unit along with other IT colleagues. The group formed their own sorority with their rituals of “ciofeca time” (afternoon break with instant coffee brewed and junk nibbles) and shared many hours of bonding time in between the endless calls and on-site office visits for IT assistance. From the outside the office looked like a beauty parlour, white with canopied windows and a heavy fireproof door with an oblo. She was also part of the IFAD girls Volleyball team and participated in the UN Inter Agency games, the dream team with their long hair, short shorts and knee protectors. Many of us would also fondly remember her dancing on the tables at the Charro Café.

Following her demise, her friends and family planted a pomegranate tree as a symbol of the sweetness of the heavenly kingdom. When IFAD moved to its new headquarters, the tree was re-planted near the child care center where the children laughter would flourish its growth. Today, to honour her remarkable persona, we planted a peach tree. Her friends and colleagues collected Euro 500 as a donation to the Fabbrica Del Sorriso a project to assist children suffering from leukemia.

…….ho imparato, che non avevo mai capito, che la vita vera è in ogni istante che viviamo.Qualsiasi cosa cambi nella vostra vita, non lasciate mai spazio alla paura, quella davvero non esiste….Ciao Sami