Something to shout about

Trip Start Dec 09, 2010
1
5
16
Trip End Dec 22, 2010


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Where I stayed
House of Joshua

Flag of Bulgaria  , Sofiya,
Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday morning saw our first direct Christmas box distribution proper with Valya, Beccy and Rich visiting Skravena Roma community.  These few desperately run down 'houses' are home to 40 or 50 people who live a lifestyle far removed from pretty much anyone you'll meet in the UK.  Even though temperatures were below freezing we could see children running around in bare feet, many without coats, some with only the bare minimum of clothing on at all.  The conditions are shocking when you see them up close but this is a typical, ordinary rural Roma community - you will find one like this in every village in Bulgaria.  10% of the population in Bulgaria are Roma people and hundred of thousands of them live in conditions like these.  Every year at Christmas time the Trussell Trust is able to deliver Christmas presents to just a very few Roma, but for those children and families who receive boxes it makes a world of difference. 

Despite the freezing conditions everybody came out of their houses to greet the van's arrival, shoes or no shoes, and we were able to give boxes to all of the women and children in the community.  It is really moving to be greeted by these dirty, smiley faces with their eager smiles and expectant looks.  Unfortunately, due to our tight time schedule we didn't get to spend very long here but we will be going back later next week. 

Now we saddle up once more and head back to our warehouse in Sofia to hook up with Miryana and load boxes for our next delivery.  Rich and Beccy take the long way round Sofia to collect Pete Cole from the airport.  Pete joins us from Wales where he does schools outreach work under the guise of Mr Big (Salt & Light Company).  Pete has been to Bulgaria as part of our Summer Camp team twice before and is once again accompanied by a big bag of juggling gear and a vast repertoire of stories! Our first stop with Pete is to the local DIY store to buy some paraffin for fire juggling next week!

Together with Miryana and Valya our two vans convoy back to Botevgrad to drop off boxes at the Methodist Church there.  As ever it is a pleasure to meet Pastor Georgi and hear about the things God has been doing in his Church this year.  He is so grateful for the Christmas boxes that he receives which he uses to bless the very poor  people in the Church's local community.  Despite his wife's serious illnes and the loss of his two grown up sons in the last five years Pastor Georgi's enthusiam for his community work is unwaning.  His plans for a regular meeting place for people with disabilities are well along and he is engaged in talks with local social services to provide support. 

The evening finds the team at Balkan Basketball club for a home game against Burgas.  One of the players contacted Miryana a month ago to ask if  we still 'did Christmas boxes?'  After some discussion it was decided that the children of Lipnitza orphanage school could be brought to the game for free and presented with some basketballs by the players on court before the game.  This turned out to be a great opportunity for national PR in the top sports daily newspaper - much to Mimi's delight.  Plus the Lipnitza kids got on national TV!  Balkan team were third in the Bulgarian national championship last year and together with the Lipnitza children we joined with the highly partisan home crowd cheering on the lads. The result? 90-75 to the home team.  Those 15 extra points curtesy of the Lipnitza kids' wild and enthusiastic support.  BALKAN!

Next week the Christmas box team will visit Lipnitza orphanage school to deliver Christmas boxes and juggle that fire but for now we say lecha nosht...
Slideshow Report as Spam

Comments

Su Parsons on

So you're playing father christmas AND watching basketball, you do work hard! Sounds like you will be literally driving with your hair on fire next week! Love you lots and proud of what you do.

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