In Moscow again, on the way home. Should be in Eugene on the 1st. Great trip. Very successful.
November 27-December 11, 2004
The Eugene-Irkutsk Sister City Committee was happy to organize the recent visit by the 8th grade boys basketball team from Irkutsk, coached by Sergey Chebotarev. Ten boys and 3 adults, including School Superintendant Viktor Basyuk and Vice Principal Nadezda Byalgozhevskaya, came to Eugene. For all the boys, it was their first time in the United States.
The team played 7 games in 14 days while it was here, half of the games being against 9th grade teams and half against 8th grade teams. But the team's visit consisted of far more than just basketball games. The team met Mayor Jim Torrey; took a trip to the Oregon Coast, including the Oregon Coast Aquarium; toured the U.S. Basketball Academy on the McKenzie River, were treated to a clinic by former NBA player Darrall Imhoff; and visited Portland, where they saw a Trailblazer game and the Pape Jam, involving the University of Oregon basketball teams.
Exchange visit organizers were Yuri Pantioukhin, Galina Groza, and Bill Sharp. Many host families from all areas of Eugene helped out. Special thanks go to Churchill High School (Kris Bofto and Tim Carmichael), which really rolled out the red carpet for the boys from Irkutsk, and to Guaranty Chevrolet (Eric Nill), which made a van available to the team during most of its stay. Also thanks to Pan and Rebecca, the operators of Deb's Restaurant on West 7th and Polk, who took care of two wayward boys until an organizer could come pick up them and their bikes!
Submitted by: Bill Sharp
EISSC hosted a basketball team from Irkutsk from November 25 through
December 9, 2004. Boys have played seven games versus Eugene High,
and Middle Schools.
They have visited the U.S. Basketball Academy, watched Oregon Ducks,
and Blazers games in Portland, spent some time in schools with their
hosts, and they had a lot of fun.
By Mark Baker in the Register-Guard
They came from Russia with love.
Love for cheerleaders and pizza and all things American. Love for basketball - a universal language that needs no translation.
And they came away with wonder.
Well, we arrived safely, very tired, but safely. We did get adjusted to Irkutsk time very quickly so were able to attend all the events Alyona planned for us. She has done a brilliant job at making sure we get to everything on our wish list. And I mean everything!
We are busy from 8am to sometimes 11pm. We are being fed big meals at least 3 times a day. Dorothy now only eats small portions, but I'm enjoying everything put in front of me (except the raw fish, of course).
Some of the highlights of our trip, so far, includes a trip to an orphanage where Dorothy showed them traditional Native American dances, and invited them to join her. Some of you warned me of falling in love with a Russian guy. Well, I did it anyway. His name is Vasea and he is 5 years old and an orphan. I wish I could sneak him home under my big coat.
We were also the honored guests at the opening of the Contemporary Art Symposium and had to make speeches. Dorothy was brief, but I, of course, spoke too long. But my story about contemporary art in America was funny and people laughed.
One of the best times we had was going to the the home of two brilliant artists Alexander Sheltinov and his son Nikita.We had an incredible meal and laughed through the whole time. Remind me to tell you the story about the sheep and the cabbage. It was a hilarious mix up of different languages that had us all rolling on the floor.
We also met the wonderful artist Vitaly Smaguin. He gave us a tour of the University where he teaches, then invited us to tour his personal studio. He was a lovely man and a great artist - a perfect combination.
We've already been interviewed about 6 times and have appeared on the evening news every night Today is supposed to be the most important interviews yet, as this will be broadcast throughout througout Russia.
This weekend we go out of the city to visist Olhon Island, the most sacred place of the Shamans. I also get to ride in a dogsled! I can't wait.
The weather has really surprised me. It is very mild and I walk around without gloves, hat or scarf. I have to convince all the interpretors I wasn't going to die. Today I actually went outside without a coat at all. I practically had to arm wrestle my interpretor to let me do that. Since I survived a winter in New York, this is a walk in the park.
I will try to write you all later, and hope all of you are having as much fun as we are.
Our special thanks go out to Victor Blum and the Eugene Mac Store for thier assistance in the Open World Distance Learning Workshop. Victor arranged for our delegates to have their first Macintosh experience and helped to send them back with new pen drives loaded with conference photos and files.
9:00-3:00 - Oregon Coast Tour
5:00-7:00 - The farewell Dinner was at Bene! Gourmet Pizza. Gifts were exchanged. Stories were told and retold. Tom Layton gave a tour of his upstairs apartment.