Harvey Dales will be driving his son and Rohe to the east coast to meet their flight for the trip overseas. The Dales family will incorporate a vacation time when they will travel to Washington a month later to retrieve the two world travelers and bring them back home to Iowa.
The young men expect to have the Russians show them how they farm and there to teach the Russians how things are done in Iowa.
"We will also be learning their customs," Rohe said, "especially when we stay with a farm for half of the trip."
Dales added, "We have a list of their customs to make sure we don't insult them (the Russians) in anyway by doing anything wrong," He explained some of the customs, such as, they are to leave food on their plate otherwise the Russians take it as an insult that their guests did not get enough to eat. It is impolite to wear shoes in the home, only slippers are allowed. When giving flowers they are to give only odd numbers, even numbers are reserved for memorials.
There are three different regions involved in the trip, with participants assigned to certain areas. The regions are Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova. Rohe and Dales are both going to Russia. The two feel fortunate not to be assigned to Moldova since, that is the only region which is still under communist rule continuing to have some political problems.
For a period of two weeks out of the four weeks that they are abroad, they will be separated. Rohe will be on a farm in Penza that specializes in meat production, while Dales will be on a grain farm in a wooded area two-hundred miles away called Ryazan.
Upon their return to Washington, D.C, on July 22, they will visit congress, the USDA and USIA to report their experiences.
Tripto Russia Brings Appreciation of U.S.
By: Becky Bothun
It was an exciting month for Manning youths, Gary Dales and Bryan Rohe, when they embarked on a trip to the other side of the globe. In a trip sponsored through the FFA organization the two young men learned about a culture much different from that in which they have grown up in. They prefer the United States!
Dales and Rohe arrived in Moscow, Russia, on June 22, 1995 with a group of 100 American kids and 10 advisors. The first two days of their visit they toured the city, seeing the sights of the Red Square, Circus and the Kremlin.
"One of the main attractions is the Moscow Circus," Dales said. "There is one building that is used for the Circus. It is really nice."
They did really hard acts," Rohe said. "I had never seen anything like it before."
Kremlin, in Russian, means fortress. The Kremlin is the location of Lenin's tomb; the man who started communism. The young men went there several times before they were able to get in. Lenin's body has been preserved and is on view in an airtight tomb with a glass top. The Kremlin is a very serious place. There is no talking, laughing or hats allowed in the fortress that is protected by many guards.
"I have heard that the body is wax because it started to decay," Rohe said. "But the hands and head are suppose to be real."
The boys were amazed to see all of the statues and memorials from WWII, the war in which the Russians lost 22 million people in the 1940s.
Dales and Rohe enjoyed shopping at Arbat Street. Shops are located on both sides of the street. They felt that things are quite cheap. Good watches were available for $8. Everyone wears Addidas shoes and clothing which is sold there.
They stayed in the International Youth Hotel for two nights which was built for the 1980 Olympic games. According to the boys, the hotel didn't appear to be as nice as American hotels, but was nice for Russia.
For the next three weeks the travelers did not see each other. Rohe arrived via a 14 hour train trip at Penza. Some time in Penn was spent visiting places such as a crystal factory, a spoon factory where spoons and knives were manufactured, and an ice cream factory. There was a bazaar, much like an open air market, where items were offered for sale.
There were two people added to Rohe's group so there was not room for all of them at the nice hotel for the first two days in Penza. Arrangements were made for the following seven days in more suitable accommodations.
"In one of the hotels in Penn all they had for a toilet was a hole in the tile!" Rohe said. "You couldn't sit. We did all right!"
Rohe commented that the food at the hotel was not very good at all. They served a lot of soup and potatoes. "I ate a lot of bread," Rohe said. "It wasn't that great!"
The focal point of Rohe's trip was spending ten days with a farm family that lived 20 minutes walking distance from a village where four FFA members were staying.
"I lived with a 17 year old boy, 12 year old girl and their parents and great grandpa," Rohe said. "I was on a collective farm of 2 milk cows, 3 sows and a lot of chickens."
"We would go to a disco every night, a disco for the kids," he continued. "There was a big deck where they had a stereo set up and they would dance. It started at 10 p.m. and went until midnight. After the disco we (me and the four Americans) would go with about 25 other kids and walk to the woods where we listened to guitar music by a camp fire until 3 a.m. every night. I met SO many people."
Rohe found it surprising that the structure is so lax in respect to no curfews. There appeared to be a lot less limits set for teenagers than what is customary here.
The sun went down at 11 p.m. and came up at 4 a.m. Rohe said the kids slept until noon, then ate dinner and milked the cows or enjoyed other activities.
"We played a lot of sports," Rohe said. "The Americans would verse the Russians in games of basketball, soccer and volleyball. Afterwards we would swim in the river."
In conclusion Rohe stated, "I would rather live in the States because of the availability of the necessities like toilets, running water and the food we have in restaurants."
Dales' group took a 3 1/2 hour bus trip to arrive at Ryazan, a 900 year old city, the oldest in Russia. Ryazan also had their own Kremlin, two hundred years older than the one in Moscow. They spent the following five nights at a Russian summer camp, touring the city during the days and participating in camp activities in the evenings.
Following their visit at the camp they went to a private farm for two nights where they made hay for them; cutting the hay with a hand sickle, raking it up and stacking, all done by hand. "What they considered hay is nothing more than grass," Dales commented. "This is what they feed their cows."
At that point the group divided, spending the proceeding twelve days with their Russian host families on farms. While they were there they lived just as the Russians do.
The countryside is much the same as it is here. There were some wooded areas but for the most part the land was flat farm land.
"I got really, really sick," Dales said. " I drank the water. It was like a bad flu."
The only age limit requirement is 18 to drive. There are no other age limits on anything.
Dales group returned Moscow and spent two meeting up with Rohe's again. The youth began the trip homeward, with a layover in Frankfurt, Germany once again and entered the United States on July 19, 1995. They spent the next two nights in Washington ac, meeting with the senators and representatives from their state at the United Staffs capitol.
I'd rather live in American, for sure!" Dales said. "The culture .... and just the way they look at things in Russia is much more laid back. The way they live life reflects the way their country is. They're not really on time ... you can see why their country is the way it is."
The twenty-two hour drive by car to Washington, D.C., for Dales and Rohe to meet their flight to Russia and for their return trip to Manning was made by 'Harvey Dales and grandmother, Dorothy Dales.
Tom Harkin gives the FFA students a send-off for Russia.
Gary with his host Russian family
One of the world's largest bells
Gary relaxing in his room
Russian Snickers Bar wrapper
Russian Collective berry farm
Hand drawing by Russian teenager who gave this to Gary
Gary back in Washington D.C.
Harvey, Kathy, Tom Harkin, Michael, Gary