Today the working week ended! On our last day working with the children of Stara Zagora, we met with the same kids as yesterday – being recognised and saying our hellos was great, especially with the younger kids who got very excited to see us again – and split them into the same groups. Today, however, we took the through the values of Respect, Determination and Inspiration, everyone giving their own small mini-speech (with the help of our translators) to explain their perspective of value, and give the kids ideas that they can take away, to use in their daily lives and to think about. Afterwards, we played a series of value-related games and activities, and then repeated each session with every group. We had great fun, more so than yesterday as they were all much readier to get involved with people they knew (as well as us using games that they would enjoy), particularly at the end of the session where the whole 40 kids got together and we had a competition to see who could mummify a pair of kids the best (with toilet rolls of course). Team Determination won, although obviously they cheated and Team Respect deserved to win. But we let them take the win. Because you know. Respect.
After everything, we had a big goodbye-session, involving many group photos and selfies; after the kids had gone we had ourselves a nice picnic, with sandwiches and crisps (and plenty of Coca-Cola), and relaxed by a beautiful fountain until we set off to the Roma community. We hiked there, walking a good while up a mountain to get to the Roma settlement. There, we saw the vast range of conditions people lived in; everything from extravagant, multi-coloured homes to Soviet-era apartment blocks, to unfinished, graffiti-covered bungalows. The roads were heavily eroded and the small river beneath a sewer/aqueduct/bridge was clogged with rubbish and waste. However, the people seemed happy when we encountered an on-going street party, with music and dancing, and they were friendly enough too. After this eye-opening experience, we made our way back to the hotel (with a quick stop at Gancho’s office to rest our feet), where I am now writing this blog!
Walking Tour of the Roma Community: