Mirna Patricia Rodas Arreola, 1965 - 2010
Administrative Assistant (Guatemala)
Mirna Patricia Rodas Arreola, a national of Guatemala, was an administrative assistant in the Office of the Force Commander for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
Patricia was a member of the UN family since 2000 and served the Organization in some of its most challenging duty stations, including four years with the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) from 2000 to 2004 and a year in Asmara with the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) from 2005 to 2006. She joined MINUSTAH in September 2006.
Patricia is remembered for her passion for humanitarian work, undying professionalism, generous demeanour towards co-workers, and an upbeat and cheerful attitude which served her well in her various positions with the UN.
One colleague recalled Patricia’s friendly and supportive role in the work place: “She was always very helpful, open and easy to deal with, and I often wished she was still working with me in the Addis Ababa office. She was someone who brought with her a spot of sunlight wherever she went. She made mission life easier somehow.”
Patricia dedicated her professional life to peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts, accepting difficult field assignments despite the challenges they presented. In 2006, she took some personal time and returned to Guatemala to attempt what one colleague referred to as “a normal life.” However, she soon returned in the service of the UN and took on the assignment with MINUSTAH.
“She truly had a lust for life, and her passion for peacekeeping was self-evident in the way that she traveled from her home in Guatemala to various outposts of the planet to pursue her calling,” said a long-time colleague who worked with Patricia in Asmara. “Patricia took care of all of us, often under stressful circumstances. She stayed in Asmara when many others had to relocate, and I was not surprised when I heard she had taken on the challenge of Haiti.”
During her time in Haiti, Patricia impressed her colleagues with her generosity and concern for others. One colleague recalled how she helped her adjust to the challenges of serving in Haiti and MINUSTAH, “When I felt as if I were ‘out of this world’ Patty was there, with her sweet piece of advice, or with an accurate word. I had the pleasure of having shared with her nine months of our lives… We learned to love each other, to respect each other, to be confident with ourselves, to work together during 10 hours a day in an office with a desk between us in which we just looked at each other and we did not have to say a word to communicate.”
Patricia will be remembered as a spirited and joyful person with a quick and friendly smile. “The photograph of Patricia is so typical – smiling, savvy and ready for anything. Wherever she is now, she will still be smiling that warm ‘Guate’ smile, and we will always remember her,” said a friend.
Another colleague recalled how Patricia “was a beacon of strength for me and guided me through many administrative gridlocks. She may have been petite in stature, soft-spoken, but she was certainly full of life. I’ll miss the smile.”
Patricia is survived by her partner Jean Pierre Goldstein, her father, sister, niece and nephew.