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April, 2003

Newsletter #11

In your life when I am no longer here, you must always carry hope, you must always remember to practise and speak the truth and have faith because this will always help you to fight doubt, and most of all have love for your fellow men. (Quote from Anita Goulden, to the children of La Sendita.)

News From London

The news from London is that Patrick Disney has resigned as a Trustee because he felt that, having been a Trustee since the Trust began more than 10 years ago, and its Chairman for a good many years, it was perhaps time to step aside and let others become involved. We fully understand Patrick's wish to move on, but we shall miss him greatly. As a member of the Trust and its second Chairman, he managed finances brilliantly, and handled with enormous efficiency and great good humour the many routine matters with which even a small charity must deal. Our grateful thanks, and warm good wishes, go to him and to his family. Sallie Morgan will become a new trustee which will be very good as she has visited Piura several times with her husband and knows everyone out there well and can also speak Spanish which is a great help. Nicholas Shakespeare, has stepped down from being a Trustee and has been appointed Patron of the Trust. The news from Piura is that Pali Fernandez, her assistant, Patricia, and all the other staff continue to ensure that La Sendita provides a safe and caring home, and wherever possible a sound educational background, for the disadvantaged children of Piura. They care for 40 children of all ages and all with various disabilities, so it is a very responsible but at the same time, rewarding job. But changes are afoot too. An Independent Managing Committee is being set up which will be concerned with the overall direction of the home and steps are being taken to strengthen links between La Sendita and the town and its people.

Roger Brown Spent a Week at La Sendita

Our Chairman, Roger Brown, spent a week at La Sendita: I spent a week at La Sendita in March. An important purpose of my visit was to try to build on the excellent groundwork done by another Trustee, Mark O'Kelly, during his visit last November, when he was able to make considerable progress in encouraging the management structure which La Sendita will need to face a future without Anita: the committee of independently-minded local people, a transparent accounting system, and a body of support for La Sendita not just in the UK, but in other countries too - especially Peru. It was a heart-warming experience, as always. The children and staff are all well. A new arrival is Johnny, a baby boy who is blind. Karina, who is 6, has had another operation on her club feet, and has both legs in plaster. I was full of admiration for her patience when confined to a cot while the other children play around her. But with luck she will soon be joining them. Pedro Pablo is soon to have an operation on his legs. The surgeon will come from Lima. With the beginning of the new school year on 1 April there will be 260 children enrolled in the school.

Four of the young people hope to be in higher education this year: Rosemary hopes to return to studying interior design (her spinal complaint forced her to suspend her studies for a while, but in typical fashion she redoubled her artistic efforts while lying on her front); Hugo hopes to enter the architecture faculty of the university. He is particularly keen to work on the design of bridges one day; Lucia is working hard to enter the medical school; Santos wants to study fashion design. La Sendita's garden is full of roses. On the land alongside the home there is now a classroom for special education and a physiotherapy room. And La Sendita's family of animals is growing rapidly: 2 dogs, several cats and kittens, guinea pigs, a rabbit, a squirrel, a goat which seems happiest leaping around on the roof, many kinds of birds, including 2 parrots with splendid vocabularies and wolf whistles. The latest 4-legged arrivals are a donkey and a mare. The idea is that they will help work the land on the outskirts of town which a local agricultural cooperative has donated, and where La Sendita hopes to grow some of its food, and also one day to grow produce which could be sold locally and help to boost funds. Two other recent gifts are a consignment of food and toys from a supporter in Texas, USA, Don McNally, and medicines from a donor in Canada.

Ruth Fernandez - 'Pali', Director of La Sendita - with much energetic help from Silvia Debenedetti, who recently left the Education Department in Piura, is working hard to expand and improve links with the local authorities and the town. While I was there we were able to meet the Regional President, the Mayor, and the Deputy Director of Education. These are all people whose support will be important for the longer term development of La Sendita. Despite the fact that she died over a year ago, Anita Goulden remains a very real presence in La Sendita and in the town. On the first anniversary of her death, more than 300 people gathered at a memorial ceremony, and the national, regional, and local assemblies all published tributes to her life and work. Articles about her still appear in the local press, and I visited the newly re-named 'Anita Goulden Park', well tended by local residents, where a commemorative plaque will soon be mounted. Each Sunday children and staff lay flowers on Anita's grave, and sing songs with Hugo on guitar. His splendid painting of Anita hangs at the top of the stairs at the home. The care and education of disabled and abandoned children and disadvantaged young people at La Sendita, and the safe and caring surroundings which it provides for them are made possible by you, the supporters of The Anita Goulden Trust. Thank you for everything you have done and are doing to help La Sendita continue, and for all you may feel able to do in the future.

Sallie and Dick Morgan Visit Piura

In early October 2002 we spent a very busy week in Piura, North Peru, joining in the celebrations for the 21st year of the foundation of Anita Goulden's school which is unique in Peru, I am told, for offering tuition, regular health checks and 2 meals a day, all free of charge. The school accepts children only from the very poorest backgrounds, mostly from the shanties perched on the desert floor surrounding Piura. Anita taught that education is the way out of extreme poverty and set about providing the means. She also fought for the right of children with learning difficulties to be educated alongside the fully able. The celebrations included a competition to select Miss Sendita 2002 from 11 finalists, 3 of whom were permanent members of Anita's home. To our immense delight, Maribel was one of these. Now a cheerful, strong 15 year old, she weighed just 7 kilos at the age of 4 years when rescued by Anita and was unable to walk or talk as a result of severe maltreatment and starvation. She is much loved by all at La Sendita who witnessed her early days in Anita's care. Despite her lively show on stage, Maribel was outmatched - much to the dismay of her vocal fan club. The Pasacalle turned out to be a splendid procession through the streets of Piura, lasting hours and led by the triumphant Queen in her crown with the 2 runners-up.

Rosa from Anita's home was one. The children and staff had worked hard to make wonderful costumes of all kinds and we were particularly impressed by a group who had carefully copied the stunning gold crowns, tunics and huge inlaid gold earpieces worn by the Lords of Sipah and their retinue, chieftains of the local Mochican culture from 2000 years ago. We had seen this recently discovered treasure that rivals Tutankhaman on an earlier visit to Lima. An evening of traditional dancing in colourful costumes was very entertaining too. Again the young people of La Sendita performed very well - a complicated dance that in part resembled a Maypole dance with intertwining ribbons. The school is lucky in their teachers of dancing and art. The Art Exhibition, in a gallery in town, comprised about 50 large oil paintings by Hugo, Rosemary, Pedro Pablo and Miguel. One marvels yet again at Anita's vision in providing special art classes which led these young people to overcome dreadful traumas and produce pictures of such advanced artistry, when they had never before so much as held a pencil or drawn a line on paper. Hugo's entry for the Trust's Christmas Card was a winner and when told of his success, he was quite overcome with joy. This is one of 3 major art competitions he has won recently and he hopes to study architecture soon, raising funds through his art to help him do so.

Thanks to the immense generosity of members of Holy Trinity, Hereford, we were able to purchase new shoes for all 16 boys. They had a field day in the shop, comparing sizes and colours, twisting and turning the shoes in their hands like shrewd old grannies. All were delighted. Even Hugo was catered for, also Pedro Pablo who is due soon for major surgery on his fore-shortened leg, and Jaime, a very intelligent teenager whose brain condition has noticeably worsened since January. Darling little Paco was irrepressible, his huge grin back in place as he cart-wheeled along the floor. They all poured out their thanks in notes and cards for us to bring home. Kind people, artists from Bodenham, Hereford, thrilled with the quality of Hugo's Christmas card, had provided us with the means to purchase a goodly number of quality paints, brushes, palettes and modelling clay for the Art Department. We were accompanied to the shop by the Art Teacher and Hugo who selected colours and made suggestions. Everyone misses Anita badly. Her powerful and loving presence was all pervasive and the focus for all the children whom she cared for and loved as her own for so long. Her wise words which taught those who had suffered so much at the hands of misfortune or the adult world to trust in God and to have confidence in themselves, will endure and continue to support the children who knew her so well. They visit her grave every Sunday to sing and dance for her and to fill the flower vases with the roses she loved so much.

Rosemary's Poem

In the last newsletter we printed a poem by Rosemary. I have 2 separate translations of this poem and if anyone would like a copy please write to Annabel Buchan at: The Anita Goulden Trust, 144 Bronsart Road, London, SW6 6AB, UK.

Christmas Cards

The Christmas card for 2002 painted by Hugo was a great success and all 3000 of them went very quickly. We will do another one for this year. To save postage I will only mail details of the card, together with a photograph, to those of you who bought them last year. But if you were not one of those and would like to be put on the mailing list, please let Annabel Buchan know.

A Recipe for Asparagus Rolls

Anita wrote several books of recipes - all in Spanish.
They are difficult to translate but here is an easy one for your fund-raising parties:

Asparagus Rolls:

  1. remove crusts from bread and roll in a damp cloth for 15 minutes
  2. unroll and spread each slice with mayonnaise
  3. sprinkle with Parmesan
  4. place a stalk of asparagus cut to the length or width of the bread
  5. roll up into a tube
  6. slice carefully to make 100 asparagus rolls

(Bon appetit!)

Finance Report

The financial year runs from 1st September to 31st August and the accounts are audited each year by an independent auditor. You can of course ask to see these accounts by writing to the administrator at the address above. In the last newsletter we said that we were worried that we would have to sell some of our investments to meet the current level of monthly payments to La Sendita (around £13,000) but this has been shelved for the time being thanks to the legacy we received. In spite of this, donations are still very urgently required for the ongoing running of the home. It is essential to be able to take in seriously ill and abandoned children in the future and your help with this is desperately needed. Apart from urgent requirements such as stationery, stamps etc. here in London, your donations go directly to Piura and are used for medicines, operations, the running of home, salaries and special projects. All the work done in London is voluntary.

The Trustees

Roger Brown, Chairman, is the Assistant Director of Leonard Cheshire International and is responsible for the expansion of Leonard Cheshire's homes and services into areas of the work where there are currently few or none at all. He travels to South America regularly; Mark O'Kelly is the Deputy International Director of Leonard Cheshire. He trained as a chartered accountant before spending 4 years in Peru working with disabled children, including 6 months with Anita Goulden. He is married with 2 children. Yolanda Williams was born in South America and is married to an Englishman. She visits Peru regularly. Annabel Buchan has been the Administrator of the Anita Goulden Trust since it started in 1991 and runs it, mostly single-handedly, from home. Her other interests in the voluntary sector include working part-time for Women Caring Trust and Rainbow Trust. Sallie Morgan, our newest Trustee, lives in Herefordshire and has visited Peru several times. She knew Anita well and maintained contact with her during the last years of her life. We are urgently seeking another Trustee to make the number up to 6, and who could take the place of Patrick Disney.