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Expats bring Christmas cheer to orphaned children in Bulgaria

Expats bring Christmas cheer to orphaned children in Bulgaria

by Charlie

Children and director, Ludmila
Children and director, Ludmila

To all you fabulous, wonderful, kind and generous people out there who donated to Kalofer orphanage, you have made this Christmas for the children the best one ever!

Ok, from the beginning;

Sam, Richard and Roger, our friends here in Bulgaria, came along to help me and Chech load up all the donations. There was a fair bit!! We took our convoy to Kalofer and for the first time ever I think, no one was there to greet us!! Well it was a little on the cold side!

Normally, when we go, the kids are clambering over each other to help unload the car, sneaking a look in the boxes, typical excited children! But this time had to be different, the Director enlisted the help of the older children (although the older girls wanted to keep posing for photographs) and all the others were asked to wait in the classroom. Well, not a classroom as such, but it has desks and chairs so somewhere for all the children to have their own spot. I was then introduced to a French lad who was there volunteering, then a girl, then another lad, then another 3 girls ….. I had to find out more. They all spoke excellent English. They work for an engineering and technology company in Lyon and the company has projects that they can take part in. One of the projects is a week in Bulgaria volunteering at an orphanage. They are spending Christmas at the home and leave on 26th December. I asked them what they thought, they said it was good but very cold. The corridors have no heating at all, I think it was definitely an eye opening trip for them. They said they communicate with the children and staff via charades and say the children are great.

So, between us, we took everything upstairs, ready for the big hand out!

Charlie and the goodies
Charlie and the goodies
- Carpet rolls ends (great for the cold, concrete floors)
- Mats we made from some of the carpet (for next to the children’s beds. No more concrete floor first thing in the morning)
- Clothes
- Shoes
- Toys
- Christmas shoe box gifts

Richard, Sam and Roger were at the ready with cameras, whilst me and Chech started organizing the bags and the boxes, then I looked up. There was a little chatter going on, but I saw that all eyes were on me! Eek!! So this is why I didn’t want to be a school teacher! I gave a smile and got back on with it!

One young lad came in just before we started handing out the presents, I’d seen him on every one of my trips to the home. He had white all over his mouth - it was later that Chech told us that another delivery had been made to the home earlier and he had got his toothpaste, not knowing it was toothpaste and ate the lot! For a split second I giggled, a confused giggle, but then we were all horrified, that this boy did not know it was toothpaste. The Director told Chech that they have to teach the children about these things, what deodorant is for, how to use toothpaste, etc. Bless him.

Ok, ready! So first of all, we handed out the presents. They came up one by one and the Director asked them to say a Christmas rhyme after receiving their present. This was lovely. All the children had big grins on their faces and when each child had finished their rhyme, they got a huge round of applause. Of course, as you can imagine, none of the older lads and gals did a rhyme, we got a cheeky embarrassed grin, a thank you and then they would scuttle back to their friends. They do make me laugh. Some of the children were missing, but would be given their presents when they got back. One girl was downstairs, so the Director asked the girl's sister to go and get her.

one of the children saying her Christmas rhyme
One of the children saying her Christmas rhyme
Thankfully, I did my calculations correctly and each child got 2 Christmas presents each. Then I handed out the toiletry bags, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. These went down really well with the children too. Next I handed out the chocolate and lolly treats we got them - well, it is Christmas after all. Time for photos. Most of the children came on the photos, but a few of the younger ones did not want to, either too busy playing with the contents of a Christmas present goody box or were just camera shy! One little girl called Lily just missed the big photo, so we had one together.

During this time, I saw that the sister had now arrived. She looked upset, I asked if she was OK and she shrugged her shoulders. It was a short time after this that I found out she had been washing dishes and then went on the computer, as she did not know we were upstairs! She was upset because she missed out on our visit, bless her. But she did get her 2 Christmas presents and toiletry bag, so hopefully she would feel much better once she had opened them.

And then it was done! The older girls came over to us and with Chech translating, they said that they have never had so much and that we knew exactly what they wanted!! They were so happy and chuffed, big smiles and so very thankful.

So over the next few days, me, Sam and Richard are going to sort through all the donations for the baby orphanage and prepare them for delivery, hopefully before Christmas, but looking more like nearer to the New Year.

We were not able to hand out all the Christmas presents sent over to the children at Kalofer, as there were not enough to go around, we also have some more in the UK that we could not get here in time, because the snow decided to pay a visit. I learnt my lesson a while ago, when taking things for the children, take equal amounts, enough for all, as the children get upset. This I do not want! So, we are going to do an Easter shoe box appeal, but I will post most details about this in the New Year.

The visit to Kalofer orphanage was such a magical experience - a really great start to Christmas week and I was really happy that Chech, Sam, Richard and Roger got to be a part of it too. I wish you all could have been there.

Thank you to everyone who has taken part in our appeal this year, you are wonderful and generous people and have really made a difference to the children’s lives! Thank you.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Contact details:


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