Thursday, February 3, 2011


Making Do!!!!
I found myself noticing the ways in which Bulgarians “make do” on a daily basis as I traveled to school early last week. Within the fifty minute commute I picked up on three such incidences.  The first was right outside the door. It had snowed lightly the previous night and the inch or two of snow had changed our world into a fairyland.  The kitchen broom is an obvious choice for removing snow from the windshield of your car, but I was surprised by the use of a long handled umbrella. It was moderately effective, but I wondered if it would ever be functional as an umbrella again!   Eight minutes later, while waiting at the bus stop, an older woman was waddling toward me. She had something on her head, not exactly a scarf, not exactly a hat, but something to keep her head covered. It was bright yellow and had a rather strange shape to it. I found myself staring trying to figure out what it was.  A close look as she passed revealed that it was a T-shirt draped/ arranged in such a way that the bottom corners were sticking out like little wings just over her ears. The third observation was in the Mahala. A man was sharpening his knife on the concrete light pole. This is an age old trick but because it came on the heels of these two other improvisations it sharpened the thought of how often in a day Bulgarians use what they have to do what needs to be done. They don’t have garages, kitchen cabinets, sheds or whatever full of things used for one thing and one thing only.But they are “savers” and those garages, or back yards may have a stockpile of raw materials that can one day, perhaps ten years from now, be used again..

A city dwellers collection!!!
"Left Overs" in Krum's yard - waiting for that "perfect use" sometime in the future!

Another Corner of Krum's parents village yard - more stuff never tossed away!
 They have a great sense of creativity and problem solving when they are working around the house or farm, but often it does not transcend from their personal lives into their work lives. At school, I find them throwing many resources out, not recognizing the potential they harbor for future activities. Mike and I have mused over this many a time and wonder if it is related to the attitude toward work that was established in Communist times. The parameters of their work were narrow and very clearly defined. We could be way off the mark, but there does seem to be a different attitude toward problem solving at work versus at home or doing something you love.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mike, I see a lot of potential in those pictures of Krums. I am thinking welded metal artworks maybe.

Jim Betz