Claremore Daily Progress

October 30, 2011

Russian group treated to Claremore hospitality while on Sister City trip

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE — The City of Claremore welcomed visitors from Muravlenko, Russia as part of the Sister City program.  Five students and three adult chaperones spent a few days sightseeing and experiencing life in Claremore.

Through out the week they visited historical sites, attended luncheons and even shadowed students as they spent a day in the life of their host families.

Each one of the Russian students shared their interests and hobbies with city officials after presenting a slide show about their homeland.

“I am a good student,” Aleksandr Tsybenko said.

“I enjoy photography, although I am still an amateur,” Dasha Chalaya said.

Each told a little about their life in Russia, but all echoed the same sentiment.

“It is an honor to visit, people in Claremore are so friendly,” they said.

Svetlanan Galagoza presented gifts to the city during the event and explained the culture behind them. The gifts included a hand carved ivory statue and two handmade traditional Russian dolls.

“The dolls are made by hand, with no eyes, nose or mouth. It is a legend so evil spirits cannot enter, It is on purpose that they were made that way,” Galagoza said.

Not only did the students speak to city officials they took the time to speak to students at Will Rogers Junior High and Claremore High School.

As they shadowed their host family they got to experience the school day and share the Russian culture.

Tsybenko spoke with students from Wes Coleman’s seventh grade geography class.

“It’s not so different here, but English is required at my school and we go to school on Saturday,” Tsybenko said.

He explained that there was not as much fast food in Russia, it was much colder and soccer is the main sport.

Tsybenko describe Muravlenko as a small town of 40,000 people located on the western part of Russia approximately 500 miles from the Arctic Circle.

When asked about his visit to America he said, “My host family is great and American people are very friendly.”

The students are the first group to visit since the program began 10 years ago.

They will be returning to Russia soon and hope to continue correspondence with the many friends they made during their visit.