19th Feb 2012
19th Feb (evening)
The group are now settled in Pamporovo and have just had a very relaxing evening recharging the batteries from a long first day of travelling . Mr Mornin, Andrew and Tim met with Emile to discuss the week’s programme. There will be lots of painting in both the orphanage and the school. Everyone is excited about what tomorrow will bring, again another early start 8am Bulgaria time (6am at home). We will be visiting the baby orphanage tomorrow and finding out what exactly needs painting. We hope to update again by tomorrow evening ! Please leave your comments !
Everyone is now relaxing and doing their own thing after a long day. After being awoke at 7:30 in the morning (extremely grumpy ladies) we went and got breakfast. After that we hopped on the bus and it was off to the slopes for 3 hours for a fun time skiing. Some taking to it more than others! With Nicole spending more time on her behind than skiing and Miss McLaughlin being dragged down the slopes by the instructor it was a good experience none the less and everyone is looking forward to being able to have the experience tomorrow again.
From smiles and laughs to gloom faces and tears we were off to the orphanage straight away. The first stop was the baby orphanage where there was babies ranged from 0-7 years. It was an emotional time for the group. We were allowed in groups of 5 to stand at the door wearing masks over our mouths and noses. We seen 3 of the youngest babies, which is where most of the tears were shed. We then went to the school and teenage orphanage. We received pictures made by the children and bracelets also. The bracelets were made up of red and white threads. Red meaning power and white meaning long life and good health. The pictures of monsters symbolises ,in the bulgarian culture, protection from evil spirits. We then went to the teenage orphanage where we were greeted by a friendly little girl, who took an interest in one of the girls in particular and a shine to all the girls cameras! Future photographer! We seen the small empty bedrooms in which they stayed which shocked the group. We then seen the rooms which we were going to paint and then called it a day and went back to the hotel to relax.
We are really looking forward to the hard work coming up over the next couple of days and the opportunity to get a chance to give something back to these young people.
Our day began with breakfast @ 8am, Nicolle, Melissa & Gemma slept in with only 10 minutes to be dressed and at our meeting area! (for those who know Nicolle this definitely was a BIG challenge!!) But… to the groups surprise she was down at about 8.15am – pretty impressive! We then set off to the slopes for a couple of hours of sun and snow to build upon our skiing skills which we learnt the previous day. After we were fed and watered we set off for a bumpy ride to the orphanages.
Firstly we visited the baby orphanage again to deliver 3 boxes of pampers and a box of face masks which is all that they needed and asked us for. We received a certificate which listed the quantity which we donated, at the bottom there was a message from the director of the baby orphanage which stated “Thank-you very much for your donation. Lets save the people who make the donation. Let’s save it forever and make it for the people; family happiness we wish you health, luck and happiness! – Dr Murjago.”
After this we were broken up into two different teams; one to the school and the other to the orphanages. We started off by putting on our very glamours outfits (forensic suits) NOT and yes Nicolle did put them on!! We then got our tools and set to work, it wasn’t too long before we had very eager helpers, all the children where certainly not afraid to help and get their hands dirty. The children where very friendly and glad to see us, asking our names and expressing an interest in our phones and cameras. A few of the children even got to use our cameras to take photos of us working which brought a huge smile and happiness to their faces and ours! We began Painting in the front foyer and worked our way into the corridors leaving the stairways and living area to begin tomorrow. As we were leaving for the day the children were asking if we were coming back tomorrow which was nice to know we made an impact on them and we look forward to see them again tomorrow.
While we where busy with our painting Mr Mornin and Emile went to Smolyan to buy 3 laptops and two printers/scanners for the school and the orphanage which they had requested.
At 8pm we set of for an evening of sliding down an icy slope on a rubber ring – ringos! We started off one by one and then tried out different ways of getting ourselves to the bottom. This led to going down in groups of 2 to 6 on our bellies and backs! After we finished we where greeted with hot chocolate before getting the bus back the the hotel.
We are looking forward to returning to the orphanage and school tomorrow to continue with our make over.
Today seen another morning of rushing to get ready for the day ahead. The beginner skiers picked up the courage to venture up the mountain on a very wobbly single chair lift showing off their new skills, while the other group flew down past and meeting them on the green slope.
After lunch, the groups swapped from the jobs which they had yesterday, this allowed the group working in the school to visit the orphanage and get involved with all the children. When we arrived all the children were delighted to see us and took time out of their play to come over and welcome us with hugs. While this was taking place Nicolle and Gemma got the opportunity to go into Smolyan one of the larger towns in the area to buy a sofa and also sweets for a party which we are organising for tomorrow in the orphanage! We also presented the school with a net book and a printer, and the orphanage two laptops and a printer, all requested by the directors!
Tonight, we went to the culture evening in the restaurant just 5 minutes away from the hotel, we were welcomed by Bulgarians playing traditional bagpipes and a lady with a plate of bread and honey – a traditional Bulgarian welcome. We then ate a variety of starters, a main course and a desert of traditional Bulgarian food. After dinner came the entertainment, which consisted of singing, dancing, and the playing of bagpipes. There then was a competition in which some of the group took part in, Rachael and Sarah-jane won the singing competition, and Tim took part in an attempt to play their bagpipes.
When we reutrned to the hotel, Nicolle, Melissa and Gemma began packing bags filled with sweets for the kids party tomorrow, which the group is very much looking forward to!
Melissa, Nicolle & Gemma x
We started the day with a SHORT lie in to 9 o’clock, then eventually the time came to board the bus and start our bumpy/bendy journey to a church and monastery in Bashko. We spent roughly twenty minutes admiring the ancient beauty of the church ( appreciated by those who know what natural beauty is…)whilst the tour guide was rhyming off some interesting and often REPETITIVE comments regarding the history of the church. We then set off to the monastery in Bashko, this was a very old building and the paintings on the walls were proof of this, some dated back to the 16th century! We were greeted by the monks who consisted of wise smiles and MOBILE PHONES!!! After recovering from newly found shock we explored the monastery and all the artefacts it contained. (including a few graves inside…) :O
We also visited a small street market filled with authentic Bulgarian products such as rose water (extracted from roses only grown in Bulgaria) and many of us bought some nick – nacks and SWEETIES for the journey home . A few people experienced some motion sickness on the way home (including Rachael and s-jay) we had to stop for lunch half way home to break up the journey and to get some well needed fresh air! Most of us ate a lovely meal were as others described what they were eating as BOKE… ( trust me you had to have been there!) After making numerous jokes on the way home about the food we have ate in the past week, we settled in the hotel lobby and enjoyed the craic! Overall the day had been filled will laughing and joking
( mostly about cheesybokeflavouredpotatoes! )
Rachel and Sarah Jane
Hey folks, sadly today is the last day of our trip. Nicolle shocked the group this morning by deciding to wear her Bulgarian fleece for the first time, but only to breakfast! We had a relaxing day on the slopes after a week of hard work. Jayne braved herself by going down the wall (a black slope) not once but TWICE, under the guidance of one of our amazing instructors Emile.
We then took Emile and Ratka for a farewell meal at the Italian restaurant nearby our hotel. We had a lovely and enjoyable meal and received certificates from our instructors to mark our skiing success. As a group we also decided to give both Emile and Ratka a token to show our appreciation for all that they have done for us throughout the week!
Overall the trip has been a great success. We have learned a lot about ourselves and all feel that we have given something back to the orphans in Bulgaria. We had some money left to spend and have requested that bed sheets and books are bought for the kids,Emile will organise. We want to thank everyone for all their comments, they have kept us going through a very tiring and emotional week!
We would like to thank all the leaders who made this trip possible, thank-you, for this wonderful experience!
Nicolle & Gemma x
Everyone is up and ready for home, leaving at 10am (8am) at home. It has been a wonderful trip, emotional and very tiring but very worthwhile. Thanks to everyone for their support throughout this project. Everyone should be really proud of these young people, they have worked really hard and are a credit to themselves , their parents and indeed Limavady High School. I do hope everyone has enjoying reading the daily updates and it has given you a flavour of what was done during the week. In the end we bought three laptops, two printers, a sofa for the school, bedding and a book library for the orphanages, pampers, paint including materials and items for the party. We also have some money left to make a photo album at home about our trip and our area which will be sent to the orphanage. We spent four afternoons the orphanages, one cultural day and a relaxation day at the resort. Thanks to Emile our guide, organiser and translator for his help.
Maybe in two years we will do it all again?