Erika Ersland, daughter of John and Beverly Ersland, Daytona Beach Shores, Fla., formerly of Cambridge, has been assigned to the United States Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan for the next two years.
A 1990 graduate of Cambridge High School and the University of Wisconsin - Madison, Ersland has been working for the State Department for several years as a CPA auditing the funds the United States gives to foreign governments for various projects.
Her first project is a dairy farm in the countryside outside of Islamabad, a project Ersland feels well suited for, as someone who was raised in America’s Dairyland.
Ersland and her husband Georgi Demirev recently moved from Manila where they spent four years at the American Embassy.
They had heard how beautiful Islamabad was and chose it as their next post. They were happy to discover that the market area of the city has all the American fast food restaurants such as McDonalds, Wendy’s and Burger King. They also have a BJ’s store nearby to purchase foods and goods.
Although the city is well guarded and safe from violence, the countryside - where many of the projects are that she audits - can be rather dangerous.
Ersland is well trained in the use of weapons such as the AK-47 assault rifle and in the martial arts. She travels in an armoured car, wearing an armoured vest. She is not required to wear any head covering while walking the streets of Islamabad.
Ersland has audited many projects over the years including those in Afghanistan, Vietnam, and the other “stans” in the region.
The U.S. government provides them with a house and a maid.
Ersland doen’t have a license allowing her to drive in Pakistan yet, but plans to get one soon.
Demirev works within the Embassy assisting Pakistanis applying for visas.
Ersland’s love for travel began first with vacations abroad with her parents.
She was a foreign exchange student during high school and spent a semester in Israel.
It was during her service in the Peace Corps that she met and married her husband in Bulgaria.
Ersland is fluent in Bulgarian, Spanish and French.
Ersland and Demirev plan to fly to Florida this Christmas to join her parents and her sister Kristin for a Caribbean cruise.
Her parents plan to fly to Pakistan next year to visit her.