Vintage Vignettes glimpse into the Communicationist’s past, one to ten years ago from this day.
On this day in 2007, I was doing street outreach in Sofia, Bulgaria. It was my last weekend of a 2-month internship with the country’s only LGBT organization and the whole team (all three employees, a few board members, two summer interns, and a couple of volunteers) pulled together to raise awareness in a park with a lot of foot traffic in the downtown area of the capital city.
We set up a tent called the Pink Point. Outside of this tent we handed out brochures and engaged people in conversation. Inside the tent we had displays and activities. Number one challenge for me in this outreach event: Not speaking Bulgarian.
So how did I and the other international intern get around this? First of all, we had print materials in Bulgarian to hand out. We learned how to say “Want to learn about equality for all Bulgarians?” (or something like that) and if they said “Da” we would just point to the tent where they could talk to the Bulgarian staff. Ahead of time we were able to contribute in other ways by brainstorming the activities and discussing logistics at the office in English. It worked out pretty well and it just goes to show that communication is more than language — Smiling, open body language, and lots of nodding can go a long way.