My friends from REACHOUT

My friends from REACHOUT

When on a wonderful June Friday Isus came for his maths lesson and told me with a cheeky smile “I have a present for you”, I had no clue what a big surprise I was in for. At first I thought he had done his regular trick of drawing a bat, his favorite trick. He usually uses the figure 8 for help do draw a bat around it and wants to hang it on the wall. I had no way of knowing that this time he had done something far more valuable – a present not just for me personally, but all of us at Reachout; and most of all this is a present that Jesus has given to himself.

Would you try to guess what he had brought that day? When we met 2 years ago, he was very withdrawn, didn’t want to share his thoughts or passions and had no interest in studying. During the first 2 months of our work together he would often ask me: “Why have you come? You’re getting in my way. Can’t you see I’m busy, see you later”.

So on the face of it, he seemed to not want me around, yet every time he was there waiting for the class to start. I chose to read into this simply that he needed a little bit more time to get to know me from afar before he lets myself or other Reachout volunteers into his world. I was of course, impatient to get on with helping him learn all the things he had missed at school, and was in a rush for him to catch up to the other kids. But how was that to ever happen if Isus didn’t want it to? Looking back on it now, the right strategy indeed was to go at his pace, be patient and constantly look for ways to reaching him and impress on him why it is important to be knowledgeable. Otherwise failure was certain. During the last two years, I saw that Isus was moving forward, learning new things and changing, yet I was often asking myself:  “Are these meetings really useful for him? Is something actually sticking in his memory?”.

Well, last Friday he had decided that it was time for him to give me an answer to these questions. He had chosen such an exciting way of doing it: he was full of trust and memories, joy and pride and I could see in his face that he was happy to have friends and be a  part of a community. He was full of curiosity and willingness to learn, a drive to move forward and try harder, not to give up and so many things that perhaps I couldn’t see. Isus gave me a copy of the orphanage’s newspaper, where at page 3 I found his first ever article. An article he had written himself and kept in secret from all of us at Reachout until it was published. You can read it for yourself below:

My friends from REACHOUT

by Isus Stanimirov

I spend time with volunteers from Reachout. Olya teaches me Bulgarian on Mondays and Wednesdays, and Kristina teaches me math on Fridays. I am much better at learning now, I read well and solve maths problems more easily.

We also have club activities every Saturday. We draw and do interesting things, for instance we made Martenitsi (traditional Bulgarian spring decoration). We even made teh actual club room – I helped carry the tables, chairs, books and put together the cupboards. When I am in room 325, I feel very good.

I have a lot of fun with REACHOUT. They often take us to excursions. Recently they took us to the Vitosha mountains on a yellow bus, and we saw a pretty river, whose name I forgot. We walked around, played and had a picnic.

We also had a wonderful excursion to Iskrets with some alpine climbers. We left the home at 8am with sandwiches and fruits and were back at 19.30. I was joined by Jordanka, Vera, Andjey and Ivelin. On the way there we stopped at Kaufland to buy water and salami. I helped Kristina buy the food and carry it. Then when we got there,  I helped the climbers carry the backpacks and other luggage. We played on a meadow, ate and then did some abseilining down some rocks. There ropes extending between two rocks, and it was quite scary but we helped each other, and the climbers explained to us how to protect ourselves.

I am very grateful to the REACHOUT team – Kristina, Olya, Stefi, Mariana and Rosi for everything they are doing for us. 


Reachout Foundation