Monday, November 27, 2006

Roma Journalism pt 2! (and tday)

Thanksgiving number two has officially been celebrated in Bulgaria, and it was a billion times better than last year! Besides clearly being more fun, its nice to have had another year away from home to realize the things you are thankful for in your life. Now, I don't mean that I'm neccessarily missing things while I'm in Bulgaria- what I really mean is that I find more and more reasons everyday to be thankful...thankful for the opportunities i've been met with, the people i've encountered, the experience i'm gaining...

Thanksgiving day was celebrated at the PC country director's residence in a swanky residence in sofia. The food was great, the company possibly better (afterall, as long as there's an A and a B there, i'm pretty much sold!), the timing just right. I commend the volunteers that took thanksgiving day as an opportunity to share our traditions with their Bulgarian counterparts, but i was quite pleased to have had a very "american" moment. During the weekend, while most other volunteers were cooking their own turkeys, baking pies, and enjoying local spirits, I was taking part in the last of 2 journalism trainings for Roma students in Bulgaria!

This training took place in Pernik, and I couldn't have been more pleased! When I first began discussing this possibility with the organizers, namely Dezzy, it was hard to believe that a little bit of hardwork was finally paying off in the form of karma. The other thing that was hard to believe was that my former NGO, "O Romano Drom" was to be the official local partner. While I assumed I'd never work with these people again, I saw an opportunity for local youth and I ran with it. I think the organizers were generally pleased with how things worked out, and I think there were moments of glory for some of the participants.

The training started on friday, and about an hour before the official start time, I found out that I'd be responsible for leading one of the groups. I was expecting the worst. Being a group leader wasn't the part i was so concerned about, but as my "journalism" experience was quite limited and since I wasn't sure what my vocabulary would be like on this topic. In the beginning, my group wasn't quite sure what to think. i would say a few words to them, try to get them started, and all I got was blank stares, silence, and more silence. Finally one of them said "Ne vi razbrahme," or "we didn't understand you!" perfect! my predictions were already coming true and 5 minutes had barely begun to tick away. BUT luck was on my side because one of the girls, Eli, used to hang out with me and was familiar with my fashion of butchering bulgarian, so she helped out by repeating my mangled sentences (which hadn't sounded so bad to me...) to the rest of the group. Soon, we were on a roll and hit the streets to interview the locals! The interviews were during the evening hours so it was tough to get people to stop (and I empathized with them as I recalled my days as a canvasser for the infamous "Campaign: good v evil 2004"- (perhaps better known as kerry v bush)) but the kids did a great job. The next day they finished the interviews and began to write an article. Their topic had originally been about peoples' goals in life, but had actually turned a bit more into goals and life in relation to Bulgaria's EU accession in 2007. I made them write the entire story themselves, and they did pretty good! By the end of the training, I think I even made a few friends. One of the girls even gave me a little present and said she hoped we'd see eachother again! (total peace corps feel-good moment!)

Aside from the participants, the organizers were also awesome people. In the last blog, I mentioned a few of these people. Dezzy, Vic, Mladen and Krisi were all in Vidin and in Pernik. it was a lot of fun to get to know these outgoing, goal-oriented people who humored my sarcasm and my relentless insistence that downloading films is terribly unethical! Krisi is a student in Blagoevgrad, where my good friend Mary is living as a PCV. Vic and Mladen are both students at sofia university and appreciate music in their own ways- Vic plays keyboard and Mladen is a DJ. Dezzy, of course, was the organizer who made these trainings possible and I will forever be impressed by her organizational capacity, her energy, and sense of humor.

oh yeah, and in the end we make chocolate chip cookies! The first ones turned out great, but after that i kept forgetting to take them out on time...but everyone seemed happy enough anyway!

okay, back to my world of ficticiously studying bulgarian!


At 6:31 PM, Blogger Archie said...

And how was the music at the director's house on Thanksgiving? :)

At 9:19 PM, Blogger Archie said...

I think that question sounded a bit weird without any context. We visited at the Director's house for a party last year with our musician friend Lilly, who was there (I think) on Thanksgiving with her boyfriend Jesse.

I hope you had a fine time - I'm betting you did.


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