There's something about Maria

Trip Start Dec 05, 2011
Trip End Dec 20, 2011

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Flag of Bulgaria  ,
Saturday, December 10, 2011

Driving, driving and a bit more driving has made up much of today as we returned to Sofia from Ruse. 

The hours in the van gave us all a bit of time for reflection, and I just keep thinking about what it would feel like to be completely abandoned by your parents and to be treated like a second class citizen because you come from an orphanage. This hits you even harder when you meet the young people from our Houses of Opportunity in Botevgrad, Gabrovo and Ruse.  Young people like Krassi, 21, who is funny, welcoming and loves Liverpool FC. He is just like many 21-year-olds I know in the UK - except that he grew up in an orphanage and that when you get beneath the banter, the scars left by his childhood can still be glimpsed and it is overwhelmingly sad. It's the same with Vasko, 19 - we had met his little brother Petko at an orphanage earlier in the day and when we asked if he had any other siblings he said 'yes' rather quietly and added 'I have an older brother but I've never met him'. The last couple of days have reminded me exactly why we're doing what we're doing and why it's so important. Someone needs to stand up for the Krassi's and the Vasko's and give them love, care and a chance.

Poverty and abandonment are entwined in Bulgaria. When we got back to Sofia this afternoon, we saw first hand the poverty of an inner city Roma community in Moderno Predgradie. Here we gave Christmas Boxes to a local Roma pastor's wife to give to the children that her and her husband help to feed when times get too tough for their parents. If it wasn't for their emergency help many of these children would most likely be abandoned too. Maria, the pastor's wife, was overjoyed to receive Christmas Boxes for the children, I'm not sure I've been hugged quite so hard in a while! And then she took us into her tiny home and gave us supper. Maria is an incredible woman and so full of joy - she said she doesn't need wealth to be joyful, God put it in her heart. She said she wants to share what she has. Generosity given out of poverty is so humbling. Today has been an inspiration and a challenge.

P.S Our camera's all ran out of batteries so no photos today I'm afraid, sorry! Tomorrow's a day off for the team before a very busy week but we might try and do a little video update all the same. We'll definitely be back blogging on Monday with all our latest news...
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