Dancing in the snows of Bulgaria


by Nakato Racheal

Edited by Stacy Oswald

I wasn’t really dancing in the snow, at least not when people were looking but growing up, I liked dancing and watching people dance and sing. In school I was always engaging myself  in entertaining activities because I loved dancing and singing but I was not well supported .

In 2013 I joined a dance family called “Soul-Xpressions” owned by Davis Sebulime. When I was at the age of nine he was my dance teacher at “in movement” organization which now is “Soul X-pression”. Until now Davis inspired my life in dancing I am not yet where I want to be but I can see myself getting there. Maybe this is where I belong .

Through “Soul-Xpressions” I traveled to Europe and will be staying here for six month as a volunteer at Open Space foundation.

When I came to Bulgaria I was ready to work with my hosting organization, but at the back of my mind, I was still in love with dancing and I was still kind of wondering how I can improve my dancing skills. It bothered me at first because I felt like I was falling behind with no exercises. I could exercise, yes, but I lacked motivation. My supervisor laughed at me when I mentioned this problem and she told me not to worry. Turns out Bulgaria has a very good sporting and exercising system. It is basically a card they give you but is paid for by both you and your receiving organization, or in other cases employers. She prepared Multisport cards for me and my other volunteer colleagues. With this card I could easily follow their website and search for different places with different activities every day like dancing, swimming and even going to GYM.

I am a dancer, so this card gave me a big chance to visit different dance studios in Sofia every day after my work. It has now become a part of my life, if it comes to dancing I feel more alive than ever, each day is better than the last and I close all open doors for stress.

My biggest problem is on the language most of the time when I am in the dance class the facilitators are always using Bulgarian language because the majority use Bulgarian and I am the only one who uses English which I found out that is not easy to translate all the time so I have to adapt the new condition. If I did not love dancing this much, it would be discouraging.

I felt like I was living in a fairytale and just when I thought it was getting better and better. I thought I was getting arrested. I panicked, I was scared, I was so terrified.

Let me walk you through this.

To go anywhere in Sofia, you need to take a tram, which you will either have to buy a ticket or use a transport card. Which brings me to my first bad experience in Sofia. I lost my card on my way back home (from a dance session) in a tram so I had no transport card for two dance classes and I couldn’t bear the thought of missing a dance class.

With a strong heart, I decided to go without a card and the moment I entered the tram I was already panicking, I think your subconscious always knows when something is about to go down.

The tramp started moving and after two stops, an old lady came to me and asked for my card. I could not say no because it is a standard procedure, I could not say yes either because I did not have the card, and to make it worse I am a foreigner .

I took a deep breath and said “I don’t have it”, the woman got so upset speaking to me in Bulgarian and I could not understand anything and she told me to move out of the tramp and follow the controller. I was then asked to pay for compensation, forty leva.

This day just kept getting worse, I only had twenty leva in my pocket. I was so scared, she grabbed my hand, at that moment i gave up. I was thinking she is taking me to police and i will probably spend the night in jail and in the morning, they will send me back to Uganda.

Just before I gave in, a thought hit me and I called my supervisor to talk to the lady because she didn’t seem to understand that it was not intentional and I only lost my card like the day before that incident. It was late, I couldn’t do anything about it. After the phone call, the lady let me go. BUT SHE TOOK MY 20 LEVA.

I felt maybe I should just go back home, besides, I do not have any money with me now. I cannot pay for a tram ticket and I definitely cannot pay the next compensation fee. With this thought in my mind I felt angry and I said to myself “I am shutting all doors to stress”, I did not go back home I went ahead to the dance studio. In the next tram I was thinking if another lady stops me I will say I paid the other old lady. Find her and split the money

I succeeded. I got to the studio, no one stopped me on the way there and no one stopped me on the way back home.

The next day my supervisor brought me my tram card. I thought I lost it, they found it. Thank God because I do not think I had enough courage and anger left for the next day.

I continued dancing, and I still am dancing and it feels so good to dance.

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