A Letter to the kids in Vratsa
Above is a photo from our first visit with Tabitha Foundation to volunteer with children living in a social home in Vratsa, Bulgaria. That was in 2013. Every year we returned, until the coronavirus changed world travel in 2020. On that first trip, Corawill volunteers met over 70 children between the ages of seven and seventeen. Between 2013 and 2019, we painted the sleeping rooms, the outside fence, and the cafeteria and took the kids swimming and to the movies. We sang and danced and laughed over endless games of UNO and the Memory Game. In different years, we made pancakes and guacamole, and cooked tacos, nachos and hamburgers with all the extras. There were talent shows, art projects and field trips nearby. The kids are amazing soccer players, wearing out the volunteers on the hot summer afternoons. Additionally, many of the volunteers learned a bit of Bulgarian, experienced Bulgarian food and culture, and picked up a few new dances from our talented hosts. One of our volunteers even returned as a Fulbright scholar. Always we ended with a pizza party and S'mores on the last day, before endless exchanges of hugs.
The government is now moving the children into smaller group homes of ten or twelve. In this way it is believed they will receive the kind of care and attention that will help them better transition into independent adults. Those with special needs now live in a new facility nearby. Though we were not able to visit this summer, we are still sending funds to assist the children, especially those who need extra care, and will continue to do so in the future. Mainly, this is through our support of the Baba Program were a local pensioner will "adopt" a child or several children, visiting them, helping with educational needs, and taking them on outings. We were also happy this summer to help out some new mothers living in the Mother and Children's home in Vratsa.
Here are a few more photos from over the years. We will always we remember this wonderful opportunity to share our cultures and look forward to our return (we hope!) next summer!.