Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mormons or Peace Corps?

There is something that is becoming increasingly clear to me. Bulgaria is small. Bulgaria is Duluth, MN small.

This has become apparent in the way that most people I encounter in Bulgaria knows, has known or known of a Peace Corps volunteer. This is really great, and I think says a lot about the work Peace Corps is doing in Bulgaria.

So, that brings me to yesterday (Saturday, October 17); a fellow volunteer and I met in Plovdiv to do a little exploring and eat some McDonalds! We were in the old town at a gift stand when the man working the stand heard us speaking English and could tell that we were American. He asked us “Mormons or Peace Corps?”

Sunday, October 4, 2009

4 of 26: Volunteer Report

This week the bi-annual Volunteer Report Form for Peace Corps workers was due. The report is Peace Corps’s way of tracking what the organization is accomplishing. Each volunteer has to give detailed descriptions of their activities and the number and demographic of the people they are working with. This time it was easy for us volunteers who started 2-months ago. We didn’t have a whole-lot to report, but I still thought some people might be interested in what I have been doing as far as work kind of things.

Teaching English
I have been helping teach English to 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th graders two days a week.


Monday-Friday I have been playing sports with kids at the school. I have taught them a game that I play with friends from the US. The game is called Kubb. It involves throwing sticks at blocks of wood. The kids have really enjoyed the game and ask to play it often. The game has been especially good at equalizing talents of girls, boys and the younger kids. The competition is fair, so boys and girls play the game together. It is different when we play other sports. Most of the time, the boys’ are the only kids who play the sports.

Examples of ICT (Information/Communication Technology)

My landlord has a computer in his store. He was having problems with installing a new mouse and getting his internet to work. I was able to help him resolve his issues with the computer.
Four friends of mine, who live in the village, didn’t know much about the internet. I was able to help them sign up for Email accounts, Facebook accounts, and Skype accounts using my laptop. We also started a Facebook page for our village, and uploaded many photos to the page using my digital camera.

WID/GAD (Women in Development, Gender and Development)
I played volleyball with a group of the younger girls of the village. I was also able to introduce a game to those girls where they could fairly compete with the boys of the village.

Goal Two: “Promote understanding of Americans to peoples served”

When one of my friends had a birthday, I made Chocolate chip cookies and everyone enjoyed them a lot. I was able to show 7 of my friends an American dessert. Also, my friends are interested in American Football and we have been following the Minnesota Vikings a little bit.

Goal Three: “Promote understanding of Host country to Americans”

I have been maintaining a blog ( The updates on the blog communicate observations that I have had made about Bulgaria and the people of Bulgaria. Also, I have been writing letters and Emails to friends and family in the US.


Another thing in particular that I seem to have been really lucky with is; in my village I have friends close to my age! A lot of Peace Corps workers are serving in villages where all the 20somthigns go off to larger towns to work. My friends were able to find work around the area, and they like living in the village. They have been excellent people to get to know!

Here is a picture with some of my friends from the town holiday.


Q: What do you call a cow that just had a baby?

A: De-CAFEinated!!!!!