1 June 2023

On the first day of June our children and youth from Kyustendil enjoyed an early-summer day-trip to Sofia.  Our primary destination was Kambanite ('Bell') Park, a forested park on the outskirts of the city featuring a unique monument of bronze bells collected from around the world.  Social therapists accompanied us and organized fun games and activities.  These included a "treasure hunt", with the group divided into three teams and provided with pre-made maps.  Every 'treasure' found earned the youngsters treats and gifts, and medals for the winning team (a three-way tie, as it turned out).  But the kids were most of all intrigued by the bells, and spent a lot of time ringing them!  Finally they enjoyed a picnic lunch in the park before boarding the bus to their second destination in Sofia...

Jumbo Toy Store!  As it's name implies, 'Jumbo' is a large children's store with not only toys but also children's arts and crafts items, stationeries, and more.  This quickly outranked the bells as the highlight of the day.  Some of the elder youth had shopping lists which they had prepared weeks in advance, while the younger children had no problem with spontaneity, and only struggled to stay within budget.  The activity was not only a social integration exercise, but helped the kids understand the concept of money and shopping.


Thanks to long-time OSI sponsor, donor, and friend Nina Shopalovich for covering the transportation and other costs for our trip, and to each child's sponsor for their Jumbo shopping spree.  More than a fun day, even more than the social integration, these experiences create memories that will latest a lifetime for many of these kids.  Thanks Nina, and thanks to our sponsors!
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