For the most part, I am settled back into my cozy little one bedroom [Soviet style] block apartment, and have jumped back into my work. I went into the office two days this week after having arrived on Tuesday afternoon, and feel grounded enough to hit the ground "running" (or as much so as possible in Bulgaria) after Bulgarian Independence day and a Peace Corps conference this week.
I have also settled back into the overactive mind disorder I seem to frequently struggle with. My weeks, for the most part, will resemble my previous schedule, but instead of returning to "Trust Me" (the day center for kids with disabilities), where they are well staffed and well-resourced, I will focus my time at my host organization - Svetlina. My main goal will be to help push projects and grants through, but I have my daily activities with the kiddos as well:
- Mondays: English sessions
- Tuesdays: Arts and Crafts (ideas, anyone?!??!)
- Wednesdays: Sports and relays
- Thursdays: Games and Lifeskills
For accountability sake, PLEASE constantly pester me about how the following things are going:
- Monthly art contests - starting with a photography contest. In theory, the kids will each get one on one time with me and my camera. They will be allotted about 45 minutes to an hour of a photo shoot session, where with my supervision, they will be encouraged to photo their homes, family, friends, etc. They will submit their top two photos for the contest. Not only will this serve as a creative outlet, but it will give me one on one time with each of them, as well as be my "in" into the Roma neighborhood where they will get to show me their lives. After October, we will have found-art, painting, drawing, sculpture, etc, contests.
- Basketball clinic and tournament - I started pushing this through last fall, but now I have a new sitemate who works at the sports arena for a Sports NGO! I want this to be an integration project with half Roma/half Bulgarian participants.
- (I'm constantly told that this ISN'T a priority, but...) - renovation of my school. Photos and explanation to follow...
And that's what life looks like right now! I am not going into the office on Fridays so I can focus on research and internet time in my apartment, as well as find other opportuntities to serve in Samokov, even if that involves designated time to throw around the football with some neighbor kids.