Up Next

Things after the tournament have slowed down. It feels like my first three months after being sworn-in, looking for my place and direction. This isn’t to say I’m not doing anything. I’m still looking for ways to finance the medical center in Zetevo. However, everything I find is either too small (a few thousand dollars) or too big (upwards of a quarter of a million Euro). I’m starting to think there isn’t much I can do. I’m not being pessimistic; I just think that this isn’t the role of a Peace Corps Volunteer. I’m here to produce sustainable projects. While funding local health care renovation projects are worthy endeavors, I believe that they can better be fulfilled (and are the responsibility) of the Bulgarian Ministry of Health (which has a horribly translated website) and the European Union. I will help them when they need help (like document translation) however, they aren’t giving me much direction with this project. I got the feeling like if I can’t find funding, this project won’t get off the ground. However, they haven’t been hassling me for my results. One thing I have done is email the EEA (European Economic Area. I also emailed the WHO and the World Bank) about the money they’ve earmarked for Bulgaria. If they have another date for a call for proposals, I will strongly urge my colleagues to write a through evaluation of all the village medical centers to be renovated (and perhaps get a new fleet of ambulances).

I am also working with my tutor to get interested high school students together to form an English club. This club will help students work on their English in an informal setting (like a cafe). It will be an excellent opportunity for inter-cultural exchange, brain storming and participation for future projects. I’m also going to float the idea of a weekly English meeting by the teachers at the school where I teach to keep their English sharp over the summer vacation. I have also been helping my tutor with a thesis she’s writing for an advanced degree in English. It’s an interesting paper detailing the benefits of learning vocabulary with games. Her English is really good and the only real editing I’ve done has been formating. Yesterday, I spent three hours with her working on it!

Next month I have four dance concerts (the 2nd, 5th, 9th and 30th). Two of them will be on the road-the one on the 2nd is actually taking place in local monastery! There are so many concerts because there lots of holidays in May. May 1st is Labor day and May 6th is St. George’s Day (the patron saint of Bulgaria and the army). Since the 1st is a Thursday and the 6th a Tuesday, I have a six day weekend! May 24th is the feast day of Saints Cyril and Methodius (the creators of the Cyrillic alphabet) and is an important holiday in Bulgaria. AND, since this Sunday is the Eastern Orthodox Easter, I have Monday off as well! My friend and American patriot, Tyler, will be in the Dup helping train the new 23s. He’s going to come to Chirpan for the concert and then I’m going to return to his city, Isperix, with him. From there, we’ll kick it (and hopefully hang with his friend Jaffar (I desperately want a friend named “Jaffar”)). From there, we may head out to Varna, a large city on the Black Sea. From what I understand, it’s the Eastern European Cancun. That should be an interesting experience. I hear there is a pirate themed hostel there. So if I do go, I will definitely have the check that out.

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One Response to “Up Next”

  1. Natalie Says:

    Hi Jimmy,
    Great info. I’m really enjoying your take on Bulgaria. I am developing a geography curriculum for homeschoolers. Is there any chance I could use some of your landscape photos?
    Thanks,
    Natalie

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