A DAY IN LUILIN DISTRICT
By Racheal Nakato
Edited by Stacy Oswald
The journey to Luilin district in Sofia, started days before the actual day that we went. All the way from Uganda i knew all I wanted was to share my experience and teach about dance. My partner Ivan and I have been all over our supervisor and administrator to help us get a local school that we can facilitate and share our experiences as professional dancers hence Lyurin.
The day before going to the school, Ivan and I discussed on what we should present to the students. Ivan chose hiphop dance and of course I went for Afro house dance.
Finally we were on our way…
By the mighty help of google maps Ivan and I travelled through the metro (subway) all the way to Luilin where we met our supervisor Violina and Pepa, who is the ne of the founders of Open Space Foundation.
All together we reached the school and were warmly welcomed by the administration.The school is big and well constructed and reserved I loved everything about it. The moment we were suppose to perform in front of everyone, I got a bit nervous of dancing in a school full Bulgarians especially because Ivan and I were the only dark skinned people.
Movies had me thinking about how students bully other students especially those doing extra curricular activities like dance and in a way I was wondering if they would actually appreciate what I had to give.
When they all gathered together and all eyes were on us and having an age difference I can’t hide, my legs were shaking.
I set my music and I introduced myself by name and explained the style of dance I was going to be performing. I decided Afro house for a specific reason. This style I can fuse with any style of dance which is what I wanted to show. I believe this style of dance shows my creativity even more.
Confidently dancing in the circle of all student and everyone started cheering, clamping, recording, and enjoying all that gave me more energy. Not more than ten minutes later, Ivan came in the middle and danced hip hop.
After Ivan, students were still cheering and screaming “one more”, they wanted us to dance some more. The students started taking photos with me and attempting to touch my afro hair then speaking in bulgarian which made it difficult for me to understand what they were telling me about my hair.
I was so happy that noon, the students did not at all underlook us nor what we had to show them and they loved every moment of that day.
In thirty minutes all students were back in their respective classes.
Ivan, our supervisor and I were just about to leave the school but we were invited to one English class and the main reason was to share life in Africa (Uganda) and explain more about the reason why we are in Bulgaria.
I explained about our project at „Open Space“ foundation, I told them about our project, which is called “ART AND CULTURE FOR UNITY”, in summary I explained to them that this project organises youth exchange program with a sending organisation SOUL-XPRESSIONS in Uganda and CHAMWINO ARTS CENTRE from Tanzania and that our main tasks in our EVS is that we do Podcasts for ART CAST RADIO. Each of the volunteers have different talents and they are given space to carry out workshops to enrich their potential and get connection with other people
On the other side, Ivan was always teaching them games to cheer them up. The class teacher was there to support in translating and the class was so active and always asking questions. Ivan amazed them by speaking some words in Bulgaria and also sung with them the Bulgarian National anthem and the whole class was happy.
Lastly we took a group photo and time was up. By the end of the session we were friends to everyone and by the lead of the class teacher we went around the school, we passed by the swimming pool, basketball court, dancing halls, the school’s gardens and finally back to the administration office.
We were highly appreciated by the school for the workshops and we are looking forward to more workshops at Luilin.
My name is Nakato Racheal from Uganda, volunteer in Open Space foundation in Sofia
The rubric “My opinio is important” is a part of our project “Art and Culture for Unity”
supported from European program “Erasmus+”, Key Action 2: Capacity building in the field of youth