"At the center of the universe is a loving heart that continues to beat and that wants the best for every person. Anything we can do to help foster the intellect and spirit and emotional growth of our fellow human beings, that is our job. Those of us who have this particular vision must continue against all odds. Life is for service." ~Mr. Fred Rogers

Monday, January 31, 2011

"Mr. Bedjamin's" Media Circuit

Well if I didn't have enough attention being the first American to live in Kolky, the regional newspaper and radio station got wind of my presence and decided to strike. So, last week I sat down for my first interview with the Newspaper and interestingly enough we talked for about 45 minutes. She didn't speak English, and my Ukrainian isn't quite that awesome (yet) so I had an English teacher help me translate words I didn't know, or questions I didn't understand. It was an interesting interview, to say the least, and although I walked away from it quite intrigued, I'm happy with the article.

Now, I'm not about to accuse the nice reporter of what some former Alaskan politicians call "Gotcha Journalism" because unlike those inexperienced politicians, I know how to answer questions on the fly and know when questions are loaded (No, I can't see Russia from my house). I politely answered them in a way that satisfied both of us, but still was able to give that look of "Really...you're really going to ask me that?"

Some of my favorite questions included:
  • How would you compare the students in the USA and the students in Ukraine? Which ones do you prefer and which ones are more interested in their education rather than money?
  • What problems are you seeking to fix?
  • Which do you like better, the healthy school lunches in Ukraine or the fatty ones in America?
  • How will you live without fast food for two years?
  • What is your biggest problem with Ukraine?
  • How big is your house? (Referring to the States)
  • Do you like our government/government officials?
  • Does your President have a chance for 2 terms? (Yes, and his name is Barack Obama, ma'am)
And because I didn't react to those questions, nor did I say something outlandish she really didn't go into any of those in the article, but she did manage to spell my name Bedjamin. Last laugh goes to Olena!

The second interview with the radio station was very quick, and I'm sure he just needed a few soundbites of me stumbling over my Ukrainian words and laughing awkwardly. And then, he asked me to say the radio station's name which I thought was pretty cool. I forget what it was, but I can imagine some sort of radio lead in saying in Ukrainian: "You're listening to [INSERT Mr. Benjamin AWKWARDLY SAYING THE RADIO STATION NAME].

This afternoon, I was told that tomorrow I'm being whisked away somewhere up on the border of Belarus to watch our school's "Vaudville Team" (that's not what they're called, but it's the best way to describe them) perform in a competition about traffic rules. They have songs, comedy skits, dance routines, and films that they will show off. Why I am one of the lucky few that get to chaperon I'm still not sure, but as I was told about it today, my Principal finished with, "Oh and Benjamin...the newspaper and TV stations will be there." Grrrrreat.

Front Page! "Peace Corps Volunteer Works in Kolky"  Right Above the guitar playing 3 year old!


  1. haha the interview sounded like oh so much fun! When the German kids interviewed me, I think they were surprised I didn't really react to some of the questions they asked, especially about government and fast food. However, I did laugh at several of the questions...oops. :P
    Hope you're still enjoying yourself!

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