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Rick Steves Tour to Bulgaria - presents for school kids

i am hoping that someone that has taken RS tour to Bulgaria can respond to this question. When I took RS tour that went that visited a school in Hungry, I took some Canadian pin (flags) and pens and gave it to the school kids. They seem to appreciate it. I am wondering if it is appropriate to do the same when we meet the school kids in Bulgaria. There seem to be two opportunities, one with gypsy school and one with a school in small village. The other thing that I noticed in my previous trip that their book about Canada or US was very old dated so another option is to donate an update to date book about Canada.

Any suggestions or thoughts are much appreciated,

Posted by
870 posts

I applaud your wish to provide something from home to locals on a travel adventure. I have visited Bulgaria, although, regrettably not on the RS Bulgaria Tour (although I do know one of the guides on that tour - a more charming person I have never met). When I travel, I bring postcards from home - usually of my little SW Washington town - made from a photo I took - and had commercially printed (there are a number of these companies that will transform an imported photo to a postcard for very little cost - sometimes as low as 10 cents per card). On the blank back of the card, I write a little message to the recipient (if that seems appropriate) - sometimes including my email address. As a result, I am now an email correspondent to hundreds of people (young and old) from throughout Europe. I promise each one that I will reply to their correspondence - although sometimes I slightly regret that promise......I received 41 this morning (Romania, Spain, Portugal, Iceland, get the picture). Their interests run the table from politics to fashion, religion to sports - and I am frequently surprised by their familiarity (and sometimes with their lack of familiarity) regarding "western" life.

Posted by
7048 posts

I would not make any presumptions about what the school needs; of course the recipients will be polite, but that doesn't mean your efforts could not have been put to better use. Instead, call up the RS folks and ask them to get in touch with the local guide they use on that trip (I believe his name is Stefan). Stefan would be in the best position to guide you as he is on the ground and can get in touch with these schools (or use his own expertise to respond what would be the most needed items for these kids). Otherwise, you would be shooting in the dark, probably making wrong assumptions, and not knowing even how many school children there are. Take your tips from a local Bulgarian familiar with these schools - and that's Stefan. Hopefully you will be able to either purchase items on the ground (and avoid weight problems) or make a small financial contribution instead so that the school could, for example, improve their instructional equipment or other infrastructure.