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Hartman Gives Russian Perspective to Ohio Wesleyan Efforts

October 26, 2004

[ Russian Tragedy ] DELAWARE, OHIO -- "I cried while reading the newspaper articles and continue to pray for the families," said Ohio Wesleyan junior Shelly Hartman of her reaction on Sept. 1 to the school tragedy in Beslan, Russia.

While Hartman's response was not unique, her perspective is. Hartman, an Ohio Wesleyan junior majoring in international studies, is studying in Russia this semester and had the opportunity to experience the reaction in St. Petersburg. "Russians are not very openly emotional people," says Hartman. "The day after the tragedy in Beslan, life went on as normal and the people here did not openly react to the crisis. However, in private conversation they expressed sadness and concern. The looks on their faces when the newspaper articles came out with the real number of victims were indescribable. They called the people animals that could do something like this to little children. Sorrow is the same all over the world."

Hartman has seen the Russian's reaction to the tragedy and their reaction to the efforts of Ohio Wesleyan University's Modern Foreign Languages Departmental Board, Modern Foreign Languages House, the Chaplain's Office, and the Interfaith Peer Ministry Council. The organizations are collecting donations—and will continue to do so until Friday—for the survivors of this tragedy. The donations will be sent to the United Nations Childrens' Fund, which is also currently collecting for the tragedy. "I started sharing Ohio Wesleyan's efforts as soon as I read Rita Boham's e-mail," says Hartman. "One of my friends is an English teacher at a Russian University and we spoke to her class about the difference between Russian and American life. During this session, they spoke to us about the tragedy in Beslan. We gave them our sympathies and I told them about OWU's collection of money for the victims. There faces immediately lit up. They told us that they could not believe that Americans could care so much about a country so far away, and about a problem that did not affect America directly. They asked me to tell OWU thank you from their hearts."

Donations for the survivors of the hostage crisis can be sent to Rita Boham, Modern Foreign Languages, Ohio Wesleyan University, 61 S. Sandusky St., Delaware, Ohio 43015. Checks should be made payable to "OWU-The Russian Children's Fund." Check and cash donations can be dropped off at various locations on campus or to Rita Boham in the Modern Foreign Language Department in University Hall 212. More information is available at www.unicef.org or 740-368-3667.

Picture and subtext from www.unicef.org/infobycountry/russia_23773.html

Shelly Hartman is a junior international studies major from Strongsville, Ohio. She is visiting Russia for the second time having also taken part in a mission trip to Kursk in 2000.