A Letter from West

Dear Ben's fam-

my name, as you know, is west keller and i am from the dalles, OR. i am a
senior at the university of minnesota, twin cities. i am specializing in
political science, spanish and portuguese. i was in the city of recife,
brazil, which is in the northeast the the country, when i met your son. i
was teaching english in a rotary outreach school and volunteering in an
organization that helps street children, of which brasil has many.
apparently your son got my cellular number from a germany traveller i had
met earlier in salvador and he had given it to ben. I was thinking the
same thing in letting ben, someone i had never met or heard of, stay in my
house as he was in calling me: all people from Oregon are pretty cool. and i
was more than right. as i said he needed a place to stash his pack while he
looked for some canadians with whom he was going to share a house during
the impending carnaval. as i hadn't spoken english with a native speaker in
months i was more than willing to show him around and help him out.

i didn't see ben much all during the week of carnaval but right before he was to
leave johanna invited him to dinner with us before we left for a romantic
get-away and he ended up going on the road with us. johanna, as you may
know, is colombian and was working in recife when we began going out. we
both adored ben immediately and both of us, although we broke up some
months ago, were shocked and deeply saddened to hear of his departure from this
earth. joha was kind enough to send me the attachments and the web address
and they are amazing. if there is anything else you would like to know
please, don't hesitate to ask. your son was an amazing person and that
only means that you must be amazing parents...

all my love,

PS: one more thing: on our road trip up north to Natal and other points
there was only one music that we could all agree on to listen to: a modern
country band called Old 97s. ben took such a liking to them that he made
me promise to tape them all there albums which i did and sent to him as two,
2-hour long tapes. that was the last i heard from him. i hope he enjoyed
those tapes. sorry i must go...