17/08/2012 A word on community
“ We are a small community here in Bansko. If you stretch the numbers a bit we could be a total of 50 people living here permanently. Ex-pats and their families dot most of the villages in our region. Our children go to the local schools, we use the local doctors and get married in the local churches or town halls. Our community stretches from Pirin to Rila, down to Simitli and the Rhodopi. We all have Bulgarian friends, local people we want to share our successes with, celebrate with and generally be there when the times are good. Like it or not we are part of the Bulgarian community, we stand out admittedly but still we are living here and part of it.
Things are different from the U.K, some things worse some things better but nearly everything is different. But that does not mean we have to change, just as we would in a community in the U.K. we need to look out for each other. If you see something wrong tell someone, if you don’t trust the local police or town hall, tell the embassy, send a letter to the local prosecutor. Tell people, anyone! We are part of the community whether we like it or not. Turning a blind eye to crooks or criminals just because we are from the U.K. is not acceptable. The next victim could be you.
The language barrier can be hard, the Bulgarian way is not always easy for us to understand. Some institutions are almost impossible to work out but there are people here to help. John Sutton and I are in Bansko all year round. The local police can always find a translator. The British Embassy in Sofia has a small but professional team, and the FCO is on call 24/7 in an emergency. Don’t be afraid to use all these services but please don’t just bury your head in the sand and think “it’s not my problem, I am not from round here.”
As I said earlier we are from round here our children are at the local school, my doctor lives in the village. I have never been more local to anywhere in my life. But this means we have to be a part of the community, take part in the community. Petty crime, assault – sexual or otherwise, burglaries and corruption are not just things that happens in Bulgaria they are crimes here just as much as they are anywhere else and as such must be reported. These problems will not go away if ignored but only if they are addressed through the proper channels. “