Thursday, October 21, 2010

On the Right Track

Димитър Бербатов (Dimitar Berbatov) is arguably the best Bulgarian soccer player of all-time, and he’s generally considered the country’s top active player. When not suiting up for the Bulgarian national team, he plays striker for Manchester United. He also has a foundation which gives away money to worthy sports-related projects in Bulgaria.

Upon learning of his foundation, I notified my Bulgarian counterpart. We brainstormed, and she came up with the idea of applying for funding for a carting track. Our school is a transportation school and carting fits perfectly with the type of students who attend the school and the type of work they are likely to be doing in the future. Unfortunately but not surprisingly, our application for funding was unsuccessful.

Not all was lost, however. In the course of preparing the application, contacts were made between our school and the Bulgarian Carting Association. As a result of those contacts, a neglected soccer field on school property was turned into a highly specialized track for racing remote-controlled cars. The grand opening of the track was this past weekend. And hopes are still high that an actual carting track will be opened some time in the near future.

I had nothing whatsoever to do with any of this beyond initially notifying my counterpart of the opportunity to apply for funding through the Dimitar Berbatov Foundation. And that’s pretty cool. There is a lot of confusion and even disagreement about what we as Peace Corps volunteers are here to do. I’ve always believed we are here, primarily, to make new friends, to share our experiences with folks back home, and to help empower Bulgarians to improve Bulgaria in whatever manner they see fit. It’s great to work with people who feel the same way, and I’m proud of my colleague’s accomplishments.

Here are some photos from the grand opening.

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