Peace Corps Life in Bulgaria Illuminated in New Book 7 HOURS TO SOPHIA
7 HOURS TO SOFIA Documents the Fulfillment of a Life-Long Dream to Serve Others
7 HOURS TO SOFIA is a collection of journal writings, e-mails, and letters that reveal the route Hoffmann took from growing up in a German farming community in Wisconsin to joining the Peace Corps at sixty-four. After marriage, raising three kids, and working as an educator and library director, Hoffmann submitted her application to the Peace Corps and prepared for the beginning of her retirement. She joined a group of sixty-one volunteers in early 2009 and headed to Bulgaria to teach English to students from grades 2 to 8.
In 7 HOURS TO SOFIA, Hoffmann shares the good and the bad, along with the frustrations that she encountered during every leg of her adventure, starting with the financial crisis in the United States that halted the sale of her house. Once in Bulgaria, Hoffmann faces numerous challenges before she even reaches the town she will be living in during her service, including adjusting to the food, bathing in an outdoor shower, and hand washing her clothes. However, learning the Bulgarian language using the Cyrillic alphabet is one of Hoffmann's greatest struggles.
After living with her host family for ten weeks, Hoffmann moves to Topolista (a seven-hour train ride from the Peace Corps' headquarters in Sofia), where the Peace Corps rents an apartment for her within walking distance of her assignment: the Svetlina School and its one hundred and twenty students.
Participating in school camp, going on excursions with Bulgarian teachers, and celebrating Baba Marta Day allowed Hoffmann opportunities to explore her environment and experience the pride that Bulgarians have in their country.
Throughout 7 HOURS TO SOFIA, Hoffmann openly shares the highs and lows of her experience in the Peace Corps, the friendships she made, and her efforts to help and encourage her students, including requesting book donations from friends and family in the United States for the school's library. The book includes Bulgarian recipes and a bibliography, as well as an epilogue that provides information about the materials needed to complete the Peace Corps application.
Hoffmann was inspired to write 7 HOURS TO SOFIA because, "I want readers to see that serving in the Peace Corps is a unique and very special opportunity for Americans to learn about another country and at the same time offer our skills to the country we are serving." She continues, "I hope the book encourages people's interest in the Peace Corps as an opportunity to serve when they are older, not just when they graduate from college."
About the Author
Louise Mae Hoffmann retired from San Juan College as library director and taught in five states. She earned degrees in education and library science. 7 Hours to Sofia recounts Louise's service as a Peace Corps volunteer from 2009 to 2010. Her first book, Goulash and Picking Pickles, was published in 2006.
Louise loves to travel and visit new places. She has visited all fifty states as well as forty countries.
Softcover, $29.95; ISBN: 978-0-9897242-
E-book, $9.99; ASIN: B0719PR2LK
Publication date: May 2017
Published by Pearn and Associates
Available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble; www.peacecorps.gov;
Charlie Barrett, The Barrett Company Communications 310-471-5764
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com
The Barrett Company, LLC