All fine in the end

Trip Start Dec 09, 2010
Trip End Dec 22, 2010

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Flag of Bulgaria  , Sofiya,
Monday, December 13, 2010

Today the team visited two schools and an orphanage as well as fitting in another trip to Sofia and sorting out a whole load of gifts for a juvenile prison that we hope to visit tomorrow.

Sounds simple enough. And it would have been had not one of our vehicles refused to start. After repeated attempts at getting it to start and Rich diving under the bonnet with the tools, we called the hire company and their mechanic's advice was "try harder". Really. Well we pleaded, we used harsh langauge and we threatened the van but it still didn't start. A newly arrived Chrissy pointed out that Rich was shouting at the van in English and that Miryana needed to translate. Annoyingly, this didn't work.

Despite it being a warmer start weather wise (although it soon started snowing) than the last few days the fuel had frozen in the lines due to it being full of summer fuel. Stuck in the snow due to the wrong kind of fuel; we are starting to feel at home. It was eventually sorted and we are back to two vehicles in time for a big day tomorrow.

The real business of the day included a visit to Skravena school and kindergarten to give out Christmas boxes which is always a pleasure. Skravena is a typical Bulgarian village near to the town of Botevgrad and we have been distributing at the school for a fair few years now. The village is home to the House of Joshua - our residential training project for state care leavers so we have a special relationship with this place and the people here that we know so well. We were running a little late but it was a real surprise to receive a standing ovation from the children as we entered the school and to discover that the school's director, Maria, had invited the local TV news crew to cover the event too.  We quickly found our seats and were treated to a wonderful performance by the children.  Dressed in traditional Bulgarian garb, they gave a recital and then did some traditional dancing; very impressive stuff and they had clearly put a lot of effort into it.  Next we had another fantastic performance - this time from our very own 'Mr Big', aka Pete.  With Miryana translating, Mr Big taught the children juggling, plate spinning and a little diabolo too, great fun!  Kids and grown ups alike were delighted.  The kids formed a (fairly) orderly queue and we started to give them their presents, attempting to wish them Happy Christmas in Bulgarian too... their excitement was plain to see, and the teachers told us that the kids had been bouncing up and down all morning in anticipation of our visit. 

After a quick cup of tea with the headmistress, we went across to the kindergarten.  A group of very well behaved little children treated us to a rendition of a Bulgarian nursery rhyme about a little rabbit.  Very very cute indeed.  Mr Big took to the stage and the room was filled with shrieks and squeals of glee and much bouncing up and down as the children helped him to name colours and count in Bulgarian and try some plate spinning and juggling too.  Then the presents were given out and recived with a lot of enthusiasm. For the rest of the day children could be seen all over the village carrying their presents around and looking vey happy indeed.

Our visit to Gurkovo orphanage coioncided with Chrissy's arrival and so was her first taste of a Christmas box distribution. She couldn't have timed it better: Gurkovo is on of our favourite places to visit and we spent ah hour and a half there as Mr Big played his third gig of the day and we wtahced the children (40+ 3-7 year olds) open and enjoy their presents. The pictures tell you so much more than we can so just have a look to see how much your gifts mean to these kids...
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Sophia on

You are doing amazing work out there. I felt your frustration as I read about the van. Poor you. I hope that has not put your schedule back too much. I am thinking and praying for you all........and missing everywhere as I see the pictures :( . I hope you are all sleeping well and keeping up strength for what lies ahead. Well done. The work you are doing is so blessing to all those you see.
God bless. Love from Sophia xx

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