‘I AM SO HAPPY”

A 12 year old boy from a difficult home has an unforgettable summer

“I am so happy. I have never done so many new and different things! I’ve been in a swimming pool for the very first time and I’ve tried so many different foods!”

Dobromir’s eyes shine with excitement as he recalls the fantastic time at a Mission Without Borders (MWB) Summer Camp. The 12-year-old lives with his grandparents and 13-year-old cousin in Ognyanovo in Bulgaria’s far south-west. He was abandoned by his mother when he was only seven months old. His father moved away, remarried, and now has two younger children. Dobromir rarely sees him.

With sadness in his eyes, Dobromir said, “I don’t remember my mother. I have a good relationship with my father’s wife, but it’s not the same. It’s difficult to grow up without a mother’s love.”

Dobromir’s paternal grandparents, Iskra and his namesake Dobromir have paid work looking after wealthier villagers’ horses, who graze in the forest. However, both grandparents have health issues, so Dobromir and his cousin do the lion’s share of looking after these animals and the day-to-day chores. It takes an hour to reach the forest, and there are no days off.

Dobromir said, “I go to the forest every day to check if everything is alright with the horses. I groom them and return them to their stables for the night.”

Spaska Bozhikova, MWB Family Support and Summer Camp leader, tells us more about Dobromir’s circumstances.

“I’ve known Dobromir since the beginning of the year,” she said. “He is a very responsible child but very quiet. The family relies on him and his cousin for their income, so he rarely has time to play or laugh with his neighbourhood friends. He doesn’t have any toys or a bicycle. The family live in one room – Dobromir and his grandfather share one bed, and his grandmother and cousin share the other. There is no bathroom or toilet. Because he has to spend so much time helping his grandfather, he often cannot do his homework.’

Despite the harshness of these circumstances, Dobromir does not complain – to him, how his family lives are normal, pointing out that there are poorer families than his.

Last year, however, Mission Without Borders gave Dobromir and his cousin Desi an opportunity to experience a taste of childhood at an MWB Summer Camp.

Spaska recalls Dobromir’s reaction when he found out he would be leaving Ognyanovo for the first time. She said, “He couldn’t believe it - his eyes filled with tears of joy. He was excited but also a little nervous, wondering what would he do, who would he meet? Dobri was surprised to learn that all he had to do was play with the other children! Each day was full of surprises and new challenges, such as swimming in the pool, playing games, learning Bible lessons and new Christian songs.

“For the first time in his life, Dobromir was so happy. He never stopped smiling, played sports, enjoyed delicious food three times a day, and was relieved of his responsibilities for a while. The summer camp was significant to him because he had time to himself and peace that he never has at home. He made many new friends and could experience, at least for a while, what it means to be a child and not to have to think about anything else. I am very grateful that we have had the opportunity to see a carefree and happy child.”

Dobromir tells us what this life-changing experience meant to him:

Everything I did at Summer Camp was new to me. I didn’t know what a children’s camp was and that so many children could have fun together. When we sang the whole forest echoed!

 

"I would very much like to return to the camp next year. Thank you, Mission Without Borders, for giving me a different and unforgettable summer!

Please consider making a donation today – and support us in getting as many children as possible to Summer Camp, a summer holiday they'll never forget.

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Children will get the opportunity to go to one of MWB’s Summer Camps


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