I was born by Caesarian section at a time when my birth endangered my mother's (and my) life—on August 27 1945 in Maywood, Illinois. World War II was just ending; women were being encouraged to return to the home and leave paid employment. My mother resisted, going to college and graduate school, at the height of what Betty Friedan called 'the feminine mystique'.
My early childhood was lived in trailers, first in Norman, Oklahoma; and then in Bloomington Indiana, while my parents pursued their education (Anthropological linguistics for my father; and psychology for my mother).
In 1955, we moved to Ankara, Turkey. We lived there until 1961, when we moved to Portland, Oregon; and my father took up a position at Portland State College (now University) in the Anthropology Department. I began the difficult task of adjusting to life in what was then a rather bucolic and isolationist Portland.
In the summer of 1962, still somewhat miserable from my attempts to make friends in high school, I began taking college courses, which I continued doing during my senior year. Eventually I graduated from Portland State in 1966, in anthropology with a minor in Middle East Studies; and began grad school.
I also married A. Michael Colfer, another anthro student that year; and the next year we moved to Seattle, where we attended the University of Washington, both graduating with PhDs in 1974. Our daughter, Megan, was born in 1969.
My doctoral research, intended to take place first in Turkey, later in Iran, and focus on Muslim women, eventually evolved to focus on Chemawa Indian School—two cases of hepatitis and the absence of governmental permission to do research in Turkey interfered with longstanding plans.
In 1973, Michael and I began job-sharing with Abt Associates, a consulting firm in Massachusetts. We moved to Brinnon and then Quilcene, Washington, to 'monitor and evaluate' a National Institute of Education Rural Experimental Schools Project; we lived there until 1977, when the project drew to a close.
At that time, we moved to Seattle, where I worked with a group of 12 women anthropologists to start PACT (Professional Anthropology Consulting Team), in which I served as the Executive Director. Our business naivete was phenomenal (in retrospect); and I supplemented our minimally successful efforts at income generation by managing a Copy Mart store owned by one of my ex-professors.
In 1978, we sailed to Honolulu in the Red Witch (our 37' aluminum, gaff rig, sailboat), and I began a Public Health Masters Program, which included a 'field study' in Indonesia. While waiting for permissions to go to Bali to study the Indonesian family planning program, I co-authored a research proposal for work in Borneo. My work in Bali was followed by a year (1979-80) in East Kalimantan, studying people's interactions with forests.
In the fall of 1980, Michael and I divorced, and my daughter and I moved to Honolulu, where I took up a position as a Women in Development Specialist at the University of Hawaii. For the remainder of her childhood and adolescence, she went back and forth between Michael's and my homes. In 1981, my half-Kenyah son was born.
In 1982, I became a Farming Systems Specialist (and met my current husband); and in 1983, I returned to Indonesia, where I worked in Sitiung, West Sumatra for three years.
In 1985, Richard Dudley, a fisheries biologist, and I married, and I gained two additional children (who lived with their mother). The next year, I joined Richard in the Sultanate of Oman where he led a team helping establish a Marine Science and Fisheries Center. From 1988-90, I taught and conducted research at Sultan Qaboos University in the Colleges of Health and Agriculture and Fisheries.
We returned to the US in 1990, and did consulting from my parents' home in Portland, Oregon. In 1991, we moved to Pekanbaru, Riau, where my husband worked on a university strengthening grant at Universitas Riau and I continued consulting. The following year, we moved to Danau Sentarum Wildlife Reserve (now National Park) in West Kalimantan, where we began a collaborative attempt to manage the reserve with local communities.
In the fall of 1992, my father was diagnosed with stomach cancer; our employer was proving less than responsive, in terms of project backstopping; and eventually, I became ill as well. Reluctantly, in mid-1993, we decided to return to the US, due to this concatenation of dismaying factors.
We moved in with my parents, in Portland, Oregon, and resumed our consulting activities while I helped care for my dying father and my 93 year old grandmother, who also lived there (and died soon after, also of stomach cancer).
My husband returned to Indonesia in January of 1994, and my son and I remained in Portland until the summer, when we joined him in his Jakarta home. In 1994 and 1995, I continued consulting from Jakarta; and in 1996, I joined the Center for International Forestry Research, in Bogor, Indonesia, where I continued working full time until mid-2009.
I now live in Etna, New York, where I continue a part time affiliation with CIFOR (as a senior research associate) and have joined the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development, as a visiting fellow.
I also have three grandchildren, the children of my daughter (the eldest of the four children). My time now is divided between Portland (where my aging mother lives) and Etna (where my husband and I live). Besides part time work for CIFOR and CIIFAD, my husband I both try to respond to the needs of our mothers: mine is 86, and his is 92.