WhenI submitted my application to CUSO, I included a very obtuse reference to the work of Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova:
As a teenager in northern British Columbia I saw television ads for international aid agencies and was intrigued. In my family overseas service meant missions work, and I was fascinated to learn that people could share things beyond their faith – their knowledge, skill, ability and compassion – in the world. When I was 17 years old I travelled to southern Africa; that trip began my life-long yearning to travel, my interest in global justice, and my earliest development of cultural competency.
The reference was obtuse by necessity – I could remember neither Dr. Lotta’s name (when I tried, all I came up with was Ian Hanomansingh – TOTALLY different Canadian). All I could remember was that she was the head of a Canadian aid agency, that her PSAs fascinated me when I was a kid, that she had an awesome accent, and that her office was on Sparks Street in Ottawa. According to her bio on the USC website, that Sparks Street address is famous to most Canadians-of-a-certain-age. I suppose many of us grew up with only the CBC and its public service announcements. It turns out that that minimal information is enough.
I hereby (re)introduce you to Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova, the woman who inspired my dreams of working in international development long before I knew there was an Isaak Denisen swooning or a Kuki Gallman dreaming on a hillside in Africa.