Written by Ben Crooke, a Freshman at Penn State
With the help of Dr. Buffington, our current professor from Penn State, we had the opportunity and privilege of visiting the American Embassy in Moscow. Before entering the embassy we walked down the sidewalk by the entrance and gazed through the barbed wire fence, early for our visit. After seeing all the SUVs parked inside with the American flag flying overhead we all laughed knowing we were at the right place.
After handing over our passports to security and walking through a metal detector, we walked onto American soil in Russia. Upon being seated into a comfortable meeting room we met two economists who worked for the State Department. They discussed with us the changing economy in Russia with the transition from communism to democracy. To say they least this visit was extremely interesting. After an intriguing discussion about consumer power and oil and gas production we had the privilege to meet Alan Mustard, the Minister-Counselor for Agriculture Affairs from the USDA.
Mr. Mustard jumped right into a fascinating presentation about Russian Agriculture. Up until this point we didn’t have a real good picture of how agriculture in general was currently structured in Russia.
He gave a brief history of the farming and land ownership systems starting several hundred years ago. I was amazed that 52% of the food produced in Russia today is grown on private plots averaging one acre a piece! Some of these plots are rented by just one farmer and one fourth of the food grown on these plots is in urban areas.
Most of this food consists of meat, milk, eggs, and some vegetables. Typically only wheat and other staples are grown on the large farms consisting of thousands and thousands of acres.
For a busy man like Mr. Mustard, he was the most considerate host and answered all our questions. I was happy to learn about how people like Mr. Mustard and his colleagues work cooperatively with Russian farmers, businessmen, and officials to help develop agriculture.
Also in this Issue...
- Man's Best Friend
by Aaron Ladd
"...The one on my right decided that it wanted to taste some American food. I don’t know if he thought that I would have slightly more fat since I am an American or if I was just sweeter. Nevertheless, he wanted to take a bite out of me."
- McDonald's by Becky Dunmyer
"While the food is the same as usual, ordering is a great deal different here. There is no such thing as a “Number 1”, complimentary ketchup, or free refills."
- International Forum by Marina Besedina
"This year three student groups were present. This included Italians, Russians, and our U.S. group. The school officials wanted to make clear that we were “one family” and could interact and accomplish tasks without the convenience of a common language."
Written by Aaron Ladd, A Junior at Fort Hays State University, Kansas
As a kid many of us have had dogs around for protection or a playmate. Dogs can also be used by the police to sniff drugs or bombs. Webster describes dogs asa highly variable domestic mammal (Canis familiaris) closely related to the gray wolf. Moscow has many strays that invariably roam the city.
Since arriving in Moscow seeing the town dogs is a regular occurrence whether they are playing in the yard or walking down the street looking for food. Several days ago we again saw the dogs out and about doing their normal daily routine. I was walking home with the other Americans when we saw a pack of four dogs by the campus administration building. A lady up ahead of us was playing with them and they seemed to be having a great time. I was slightly in front of the group of students just walking ever so calmly when two decided to start barking and growling at me. This has happened before at home since my neighbors have dogs that always bark when I pass and therefore was nothing new to me. There was one dog on my left and one on my right. The one on my right decided that it wanted to taste some American food.
I don’t know if he thought that I would have slightly more fat since I am an American or if I was just sweeter. Nevertheless, he wanted to take a bite out of me. Luckily for me I had on a loose pair of jeans that prevented the dog from actually biting my skin. However, he did tear up my jeans cutting a slice in them about 6 inches long.
The dog then released and acted like nothing had happened. I started walking even faster just to make sure that they didn’t try the second time to take a bite out of me. He seemed satisfied with his attempt at American food as he did not bother the rest of the group that was just about 10 yards behind me.
This entire ordeal was only about 10 to 15 seconds long but it seemed longer. I am glad that I was not bitten but am still upset with my ripped jeans. Now every time that I see the pack of dogs around the building or walking the sidewalk I am more cautious about approaching them.