Jeffrey Kelley-Clarke

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I was born and raised in Seattle, and attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, graduating with a BS in Urban Studies in 1976 (quick, do the math…) Two months later I was headed to Bahrain with the Peace Corps, and if you had never heard of Moldova, I certainly had never heard of Bahrain. It is an archipelago in the Persian (Arabian) Gulf, ruled by a sheikh. I learned a little bit of Arabic, lived in an apartment with two other Volunteers, and worked in the Ministry of Housing with an Englishman as my “partner.”

However, I did meet my wife Paula there—she was a Volunteer teaching Psychology. After completing my service I spent six months travelling in the UK, India, and Nepal, then came home and got a job working for the City of Richland Planning Department. A year later I was in the Snohomish County Planning Department, north of Seattle, and I stayed there 25 years. Paula and I married in 1979, had a daughter (Brenna) in 1981, and a son (Sean) in 1985. In 1992 I was named Solid Waste Division Director, and spent twelve years completely rebuilding the County’s solid waste and recycling system.

By 2004 I had two children finishing their education, a boss preparing to retire, and the feeling that if we were ever to do anything else it ought to be soon. I applied to Peace Corps, and five months later found myself in training to come to Moldova.

And have never regretted it.