Through the miracle of social networking, I've reconnected with Sandra Basgall, a valued friend of more than 30 years' duration. Once upon a time, as single parents in a university town, Sandra and I and another friend, Anne Kaplan, shared an after-school caregiver for our children, beginning when the kids were in kindergarten. We lost track of each other a good while ago as we pursued our separate adventures. Then, last June, we found each other on Facebook and renewed our friendship.
Sandra has just launched yet another huge adventure. Since December, she has been in Kinshasa in a new position with Catholic Relief Services, where she is based as the Regional Director of Monitoring and Evaluation for Central Africa. With responsibility for nine countries, Sandra will be traveling extensively, expecting to be on the move 30 percent of the time during her assignment.
Not one to miss an opportunity, Sandra asked me for advice on publishing a blog documenting her stay in Africa. Although she's begun posting on a WordPress.com blog, her new duties are taking up much of her time. So I leapt at the opportunity to feature Sandra's weekly posts from Central Africa here on Writing Travel to help her build an audience.
When I met Sandra, she worked in the International Students Office at Northern Illinois University, where she put her background in journalism and news reporting to excellent use. I asked her for more details on what she's been up to since then. Here is the profile she provided:
Originally from the United States, but currently living in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sandra Basgall works for Catholic Relief Services for Central Africa as their Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor. She has provided similar services to government agencies, NGOs/PVDOs, the United Nations, and educational institutions throughout the world. Organizations for which she has worked include UNESCO, the International Rescue Committee, BRAC Bangladesh, the Jamaican-Dominican Republic Integrated Rural Development Project, Pan American Health Organization, Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute, and USAID. She has also taught undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Iowa and the School for International Training.
She has extensive experience working, living, and traveling in many cultures and countries include Vietnam, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Northern Caucasus States of Ossetia, Ingushetia and Chechnya, Russia, Bangladesh, Singapore, Mexico, Burundi, Rwanda, France, Denmark, Panama, Trinidad-Tobago, Jamaica, to name a few—and in various states in the United States.
Tomorrow, I'll let Sandra speak for herself, with a post about her new hometown, Kinshasa.