Thursday, January 12, 2012

Successful fall project

In Bulgaria, on December 1, I hear from teachers and students in Bulgaria about the condoms passed out for World AIDS Day (in Bulgarian – Световен ден на антиспин)..but it is not very often that I hear about why it is important that they be used.

At the school I work with, we set out to help students understand the importance of protection if / when they are sexually active. This fall, we coordinated efforts on a small project: myself, the school psychologist (Tanya), the art teacher (Desi), the IT teacher (Ani), and the theater club and teacher (Daniela) - to teach students about HIV/AIDS. We created many new resources for the school to use for current and future students.

I feel honored to work with such a talented, innovative, and motivated team of teachers, and would like to present some of our work below. We presented the below play to upper level students in a school in a nearby village (it is in Bulgarian..but there are English subtitles).

Also..we created the below Comic Strip (in English and Bulgarian):

..and created the below colorful and large puzzle:

The below brochure and logo:

On World AIDS Day, all of the above information was presented, and additionally we had a presentation by students from the school’s Red Cross Group, an interactive game presented by the school psychologist, and another by the school nurse, and a wrap-up by the school Director. In the morning, students from the Red Cross group handed out condoms and information pamphlets about HIV/AIDS.

Honestly..this was a successful project. I say this because during our session on World AIDS Day, for over one hour, the students sat quietly, and watched and listened, and participated. I have attended many classrooms here, and it is rarely that I see this in an entire class (much less the 3-4 classes we had)..usually they are talking to their friends, or talking on the phone, or listening to music. So..they listened to our I can only hope it will help guide them to better decisions in their private lives. See a few of the pictures below – These are from both our project and World AIDS Day presentation.

If you would like to see all the pictures from the project, click here
If you would like to see all the pictures from World AIDS Day click here.

I would like to thank the following teachers and students for their help:

Татяна Гърмидолова Tatyana – A super coordinator of the entire project
Десислава Цуцулова Desislava – Art teacher – helped create the logo for the brochure, the scenery and puppets for the play, worked with her student group (Mladi Talanti) to create the puzzle, helped with the drawings in the Comic strip
Анелия Недялкова Anelia – Helped convert everything from paper to electronic for use in presentations and for the school’s online newspaper; helped create the school presentation for World AIDS Day; helped create and print brochures
Даниела Райкова Daniela – worked tirelessly with her theater group to give great performances of the play “Misli s glavata si” (Think with your head)

Млади Таланти The student group Mladi Talanti - (Talented Youth) – Created the colorful puzzle, used during presentations:
* Krasimira Angelova, Stefka Krachunova, Radina Grigorova, Ivelina Guychurova, Veska Daskalova, Hristiana Tomuva, Denislava Grigorova, Dorotea Tsarkova
Театрен група The Theater group
* Rumen Hristov, Viktoria Guynurova, Hristina Chemshirova, Magi Baycheva

Ралица Тачева Ralitsa – translated scripts and comics and co-presented on World AIDS Day
Ивена Бъчварова Ivena – co-presented on World AIDS Day
Дерина, Цветелина, и Поля Derina, Tsevetelina and Polya – They helped hand out brochures and condoms before classes on the morning of December 1, World AIDS Day

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hija Pleven - Hike

It has been a flurry of weeks, months even..and as I’m sure life here in Bulgaria is not about to slow down, I need to make the time to update some of my activities over the past few months..but, going back

– starting from Christmas and New Year’s in Istanbul. I wrote a lot of my stories about Istanbul for the holidays on the pics..and some of the pics are from Patricia (the volunteer that I travelled with..she’s much more of a picture taker than I am), so click here – or go to the ‘Tricia’s newest pics’ link at the bottom of this page.

And below are just a few of my pics from this weekend – full of ups and downs. I went with my regular favorite hiking group to Hija Pleven..last year when I did this hike, I had broken off with a smaller subset to hike Botev (the tallest mountain in Stara Planina) before heading to the hija. This year there was no chance of that, since I've been fighting off a cold..but knowing that all that fresh snow was waiting in the mountains..I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. So, here are the hi’s and low’s of the weekend:

• There was snow – lot os snow..up to my hips at some points

• It snowed the entire hike..but it wasn’t cold or windy
• The street to our starting point for the hike had so much snow that the bus couldn’t get through, and our hike started sooner than anticipated
• Along the way we passed to stranded vehicles..left in the middle of the road
• Our feet got wet when we had to cross a couple creeks
• There were covered cars in a parking lot..they had been there for 2 days stranded..that’s the first time we heard that there was no electricity in the hija
• We arrived at the hija, to find it electricity (glad I remembered my flashlight, even though I forgot the headlamp)..we had candle light dinners, no lights, no heat, no hot was a very cold night’s sleep

• Everyone was fighting for a place to dry their clothes in front of a little fireplace, and 100+ people coming in from the instead of waiting, Stella and I played a couple games of Backgammon (Bulgarian style – did you know that Backgammon originated in Turkey – or that’s what I was was pretty interesting background when I googled it.
• Reneta had the great idea (sarcasm) of sledding in pampers..yes, she brought pampers..there are probably a few pics floating around on Facebook..but I only got one of Stella..we didn’t work..but I did have fun playing in the snow!