We went to Vidrare one last time before we left Razliv for Sofia. This time I made sure to take more pictures of the kids, despite the fact that we’re not really supposed to photograph them. Some of the pictures are difficult to look at, but it’s the reality of the lives of these kids, and surprisingly, they are a lot better off than many other children who are institutionalized here in Bulgaria.
The toughest case I saw was that of the 21-year-old twins, Sofia and Sibilla. These girls are my age but look like 2-year-olds because of cerebral palsy. They have many health issues and are in and out of hospitals so much that the hospital in Botevgrad (town about 20 minutes away from Vidrare) has refused to take them in anymore, considering them a lost cause. Any time they have health issues they have to be driven to Sofia. They are always kept together, which I think is great, but they aren’t bathed often and do not have their teeth brushed, so their teeth are rotting and they smell as if they are wasting away. They cringe when you touch them and are very sensitive to everything around them, so they usually sit together and move their eyes around the room. Sofia hated the camera, but Sibilla was smiling and enjoying our attention.
Ivo was one of my favorites, but he was not very comfortable with strangers, so I didn’t really get to spend time with him. He spent a lot of time alone and was very moody, throwing fits randomly and for no reason. I’m pretty sure he is autistic, but I could not tell for sure. Isn’t he adorable in this picture?
Bogdi (short for Bogdana) was the little brat of the group. Whenever we would swing the kids in blankets, she would hit the underside of the blanket and laugh. She loved attention and could be really sweet when she wanted something. She also liked to lie on the floor and scream when the orphanage workers weren’t there.
Malek was always laughing and loved attention. She was the happiest one in the group.