Mountain Christmas

OSI-Bulgaria (Dupnitza)

24-26 December 2003

Christmas Eve

At 2:00 in the afternoon on Christmas Eve, 15 excited kids boarded two mini-busses for the 45-minute trip to Temenuga Lodge at Panichishte, high on Rila Mountain about an hour from Dupnitza.  It was extremely windy, cold, and snowy on the mountain, but a warm fire awaited the kids in the lodge.  They spent the remainder of the afternoon setting up and decorating our Christmas tree, and then anxiously perused all of the gifts that magically appeared underneath.  The lodge staff prepared an extraordinary dinner for the kids and contributed to make the occasion very special.  After dinner, by insurrection, the children opened all their gifts, and afterwards played and ate goodies until they all fell asleep.

Christmas Day

On Christmas morning, the kids slept in as late as they wanted, which for most of them was pretty late.  After breakfast, they played games and watched television.  After a big lunch, we ventured outdoors with those willing to brave the cold.  The kids enjoyed playing in the snow with some fantastic views of the surrounding mountains.  After dinner our kids joined the other guests at the lodge for a Bulgarian "disco" that lasted until well after midnight.  They slept in late again, of course, and we all headed back to Dupnitza Friday afternoon.

Acknowledgements

The total cost of our excursion was US$335, which included the cost of the lodging, transportation, and gifts for the un-sponsored children.  This cost was covered primarily by a $250 donation from Kate Malony of New Jersey, USA.  The remainder of the cost of the camp was covered by one of OSI's best friends, Nicholas Tummillo, also of New Jersey.  Without the generosity of these individuals, this trip would not have been possible.  Thank you, Kate and Nicholas, for creating a wonderful memory for these kids!
Thanks also to Bilyana Markova from the Dupnitza orphanage for chaperoning.
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