General reflections on the exchange visit to Bulgaria 

“Unique and United” was the theme for Inner Wheels in 2015-2016. 

Unique it sure is that across a Danish and a Bulgarian district we can unite our clubs through an exchange visit like this. 
United, yes, we are. I think that the wonderful time spent together across the clubs in our district is the reason that 19 members signed up for the trip to Bulgaria. Our team spirit is high, not least due to district 45’s common project on producing and selling jewelry. Unique and United. 

“Touch a Heart” is this year’s theme. 

Touch a Heart – yes, that happened numerous times during district 45’s visit to district 248 in Bulgaria. The first time at the warm welcome, and later at the various clubs’ lovely events, and at the formal but fun and festive gala. I was moved especially by the fact that several members from other clubs showed up to greet us and join the fun for a while. These were, among others, members which we had met during their visit to Denmark in 2014. 
 
Last but not least, a visit like this across districts and nations is a perfect example of the purpose of Inner Wheel:  To promote true friendship. To encourage the ideals of personal service. To foster international understanding. 
 
The exchange visits of our two clubs are of great importance to us all, not least to Bulgaria which is still a young democracy after the communist rule ended in 1970. Not long ago, the freedom to unite was limited and so was the freedom of expression. After the country joined NATO in 2004 and the EU in 2007, major progress has been made, but it became clear to us that there is still a long way to go before Bulgaria is on par with Denmark. 
 
It is lovely to see that new Inner Wheel clubs sprout throughout Bulgaria that now has 25 clubs. The first club signed the charter in 1997, and district 248 was established in 2004. The Memorandum of friendship between district 45 and district 248 was established in 2008 when the first friendship visit to Denmark took place. 
 
Nina Fritsdal, Brædstrup-Ry Inner Wheel 
October 12, 2016. 

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