By March 1998 we had packed over 120 large apple boxes including 7 sewing machines. Mike arranged for a lorry and set off. The journey was not easy, the learning curve was steep as we grappled with regulations we never thought in our wildest dreams could exist but eventually I was able to hand over the boxes personally, along with a further 2 tons of food, to the grateful children. I had begun.

We visited the Ryna Gatteva Home for Girls were conditions troubled us a great deal. No laundry, only a very old, rusty domestic washing machine for over 70 children.

Worse, the "bathroom" was underground with a small hole for ventilation. Four ancient showers with no doors or curtains, only three of which worked. Two working hand-basins in very poor state. The lamps above having burnt out due to faulty wiring. The toilets were dreadful and impossible to keep clean. We persuaded the local Rotarians to draw up a scheme to provide a laundry with an industrial washing machine. An out building would be repaired for the purpose and the machine purchased in Bulgaria. Plans were later made to improve the "bathroom" with proper ventilation showers, washing and toilet facilities.

Upon our return to England the Hull Rotarians offered to donate some money for the scheme. The Rotary District added this to and we applied to Rotary Foundation for a further grant. After much form filling and effort by Don Earnshaw everything was agreed and sufficient money transferred to Bulgaria for Krassimir Valchev to commence work on the project. We hope to see everything completed when we visit in spring 2001.


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