Guest post by Sandra Basgall, Catholic Relief Services Central Africa
I may never return to the United States as my new furnished bungalow
in Kinshasa is so nice. I am in a compound with about ten other bungalows and a
good sized swimming pool. My bungalow is separated from the others
with nice plantings and grass, and it feels quite private. There is a
heavy gate with two guards that make sure the residents are safe.
I have three bedrooms and three bathrooms. Now don’t get too excited,
the small bath is just as you enter the house and for guests. The
middle is for the two smaller bathrooms and has a nice shower. And
the master bath has all the comforts of home as well as a nice tub!
There are lovely built in drawers, shelves, and closets in the two
small bedrooms and a large set in the hallway going into the master
bedroom suite. What more could a girl ask for? And there is plenty
of room for guests.
Guest post by Sandra Basgall, Catholic Relief Services for Central Africa
I have been here a week now. I went from 16 hours plane
sitting to 3 days of regional meeting sitting and so was really glad when the weekend
came. One of the last
tips I received before I left the States was to see if anywhere they served a
fish called capitaine. This was someone
who had eaten it 40 years ago as a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo and still
remembered it with fondness. Imagine my
surprise at the Thursday evening dinner during the regional meetings that the
restaurant served capitaine. I, of
course, ordered it. It was cooked in a
banana leaf pouch with a lovely sauce and it was truly wonderful. I will have it again, many times.
At CRS CARO (Central African Regional Office), most
of the major management positions are held by women. I think it sets a very interesting flavor and
there seems to be a lot of collaboration and support. The regional director is an African-American woman
who was three years in the Peace Corps in the Gabon and is married to a Senegalese. She has been RD for the last five years. Although we service seven other countries, the
DRC is the largest in terms of program dollars, and they have the largest country
program, also directed by a woman, an American. There is a real hodgepodge of other nationalities
here, and it is interesting to learn where long-term Congolese CRS people have served.