Building Bridges between Communities - September trips
The second week of September was very intense! A group of Refugee Project volunteers, coordinators and parents took children and teenagers from the three reception centres in Sofia to Korali Mineral Pool by Pancharevo Lake. Every day there were around 15 children and at least 5 adults who joined the excursion and enjoyed the last sunny summer days.
Children, teenagers and volunteers spent most of the time inside the swimming pool, enjoying the hot water (Yes! This swimming pool is located in a hot springs zone and the temperature of the water can reach 49ºC!) playing games and getting to know each other a little bit more. The weather in general was good, especially the last day when the temperature was about 30ºC and the sun was shining during all the day.
On the second day, we met a group of Bulgarian children who invited us to join them to celebrate a birthday party! They had been incredibly nice! They offered each of us a piece of cake, we sang “Happy birthday” together and concluded our meeting with a group photo! This was a true spontaneous integration activity between the local community and the refugees.
The time at the pool flew by very quickly! The children got out of the water just to have a quick lunch on the grass, while enjoying the wonderful view of Pancharevo lake. However, it has to be said that this moment was always very short because everybody wanted to go back in the water as soon as possible in order to make the most of the pool time. The water-slide was one of the most successful attractions, indeed!
Every day when it was the time to come back to the camp nobody wanted to leave. Everyday around 3 pm our minibus was waiting for us outside and it was time to go back and rest a little bit.
These excursions have been possible thanks to the project “Building Bridges between Communities”. This initiative has been designed for communication, healing and integration between the local community and third country nationals who have received or are waiting for international protection in Sofia, through guided educational, cultural and recreational field trips and events into their new environment. It was developed by one of our amazing volunteers Jenny Cobble and funded by Simon Kirby Trust.
Our team is sure that everybody enjoyed these excursions at the swimming pool that allowed the children to meet new Bulgarian friends, to have positive interaction with locals and on top of all to have a lot of fun! We hope that these trips will remain in everybody’s memories as beautiful days and the beginning of a good time in Bulgaria!