He was a respected scientist who once ran for high office in his homeland. But an American man who went to Ukraine looking for love found only destitution, ending up penniless, homeless, and adrift from family and friends.
Social services in the western Ukrainian town of Chernovtsy had the surprise of their lives after discovering the identity of one of the homeless people in their care.
“He looked exactly like a typical local bum,” says Andrey Malov from “Narodna Dopomoga”, a local social care association.
“I asked him what he was doing and he replied in English!”
And it turned out this was no regular down-and-out. The homeless man turned out to be US citizen Carey Dolego, a scientist and politician who ran for governor in Arizona last year but failed to get elected.
Dolego, it emerged, came to Ukraine on a scientific exchange mission which quickly turned into a wife-hunt. Dolego made contact with a Ukrainian woman, Yulia, who invited him over to Chernovtsy.
“Yulia said she was definitely looking for a marriage partner, that part is true,” Carey Dolego told RT correspondent Alexey Yaroshevsky.
The rest was like a bad dream. It was in Chernovtsy that Dolego learnt that all his credit cards had been blocked after his cell phone and laptop chargers were stolen. No money, no connection with the outside world – and, most importantly, no Yulia. A long way from home and love, the American slept rough at a train station until he was found by local social services, very seriously ill and in danger of death.
“He is now feeling well, but that’s after intensive treatment for what was a very serious case of pneumonia,” said Svetlana Kovalenko from the pulmonology department of Chernovtsy hospital.
How the mighty have fallen
The US Embassy in Kiev came to Dolego’s rescue and bought train and plane tickets to get him home. After more than week in Western Ukraine, the troubled American arrived in Kiev -alone, as Yulia had snubbed him.
Did she come to see him in the end?
Dolego says she never did.
“She called me once and said that she had just received all the emails I had sent her. She said she would come the next day at lunch hour, but she never showed up and I haven’t seen her since then.”
The American views his misadventure somewhat philosophically, saying no-one, no matter what his social status, has guaranteed protection from such a calamity.
As he arrived at the railway station in Kiev, RT’s Alexey Yaroshevsky had this question for him.
“How was it for you psychologically? You are a former candidate to the Senate, but then you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, like a hobo at a train station.”
As Carey Dolego explained, his inspiration in time of trouble was another Yulia:
“What I say to that is – look what’s happened to Tymoshenko, the ex-prime-minister. Look what has befallen her since she left office. These things can happen to people even that run for office or held office. They are not immune to them.”
Despite a genuine Tom Sawyer-style adventure in Ukraine, Dolego says he has fallen in love with the country and will definitely return next spring. What he is not so sure about is whether the purpose of his planned visit will be business or pleasure.