In February 1999 I was on my way home from a work trip to Moscow. That’s when I met this representative of an American fund from New York who told me about their program - introducing the USA to kids from various countries. He gave us contacts of their representatives in Minsk and we followed through. We discovered that there was an opportunity to go to the US on an exchange program and decided to propose it to Roman but leave the decision to him. On the next evening Roman announced he wanted to go and the following August he left to the States. We realized he would have to pass school exams in advance and be away in a foreign country for ten months. In September I took a job in Moscow, we decided that it would be easier to pass the separation there.
In America Roman lived in the family of Dowl and Brenda Mayer and their children Pete and Irene. They lived in a small town Atztek on the border between New Mexico and Colorado. Dowl was a teacher at a local college and Brenda took care of the house. Roman was always very fond of these people. By Christmas we received a letter from them praising God for giving them such an unusual and talented guest and that they were very happy to meet Roman. In the spring of 2000 he received an invitation to attend a meeting of international students in Washington but said he didn’t have enough money for the trip. With the invitation came a list of dress-code requirements and other things needed for the trip along with the list of possible sponsors. We sent half of the sum and the other half was put together by various sponsors and even the local church. Roman was very impressed by the trip: museums, exhibitions, meetings and seminars… At the end of May Roman successfully passed the exams in his school and told us that he wanted to continue his studies in the college Dowl was teaching at. The college was run by Intel, was very well equipped and Dowl promised us to help with the needed documents. Roman went back to Minsk for the summer to pass his exams there and also went to Moscow for the first time. At the end of summer he went back to the US.
The next two years Roman spent in the States with Dowl and Brenda and travelled across the country with them: Grand Canyon, Phoenix, New York and many small towns, all of which played a great role in his acquaintance with America.
This section has photos that Roman took during his studies in US, Belarus and some snaps from Moscow holidays. Most of them were taken by Roman.