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Salut, Balti: How One Peace Corps Volunteer is Helping Her Community Rethink Volunteering

Eagle Eye, University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, Virginia

Peace Corps volunteer Leah Kieff, 25, of Fairfax, Va., has been serving as a Community Development volunteer in Moldova since June 2013. Kieff is working with her community to encourage youth volunteerism through the Salut, Balti! initiative. She graduated from the University of Mary Washington in 2011 with her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Philosophy. We did a Q&A with her to learn all about Salut, Balti! and its impact on the community. Bottom line: Peace Corps volunteers do really awesome things!

Q: Where is your Peace Corps site?

A: I live in Balti, Moldova. There are about 150,000 people who live in Balti. For the U.S., it would be a pretty small city. In Moldova however, Balti is the second largest city and it’s sometimes referred to as the northern capital.

Q: Can you describe it?

A: I love my site! When I was first placed here, it wasn’t what I expected for Peace Corps because I was in a city. Now I think of Balti as the absolute BEST city in Moldova. Balti offers me all the advantages of being in the capital – restaurants, grocery stores, gyms, English speakers – without the over-crowded hustle. I also love being in a city with so many active NGOs. I feel like I have an unmatched ability to make a difference on a large scale!

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