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December, 2013

Newsletter #25

Physiotherapy with Ronni.

Physiotherapy with Ronni

We have to have clouds and sunshine. If we only ever had sunshine and no rain everything would be unproductive. And necessity brings out the best in man. If man does not struggle there is no progress because struggle and progress go hand in hand. (Quote from Anita Goulden.)

Message from Roger Brown, Chairman

Our last Newsletter included reports from the Home in Piura. I'm glad to say that we are still getting them regularly, and that the news is still good. Also, I was able to visit the Home in March, and to see for myself - yet again - what a truly inspiring place it is, and what excellent work is being done there by the devoted staff and hard working local committee (which has set up a sub-group of young people to ensure that it remains in touch with and ready to respond to the feelings and needs of the Home's residents). And you don't have to take my word for it: 'the home has grown and flourished' ('crecido y florecido'!) enthuses another Anita, Anita Mollet, one of the Home's staunchest supporters in Piura, and she goes on to add 'This is just the beginning…' One of the most encouraging recent developments is that thanks to all the hard work done in Piura, local donations, both in cash and kind, are increasing. It is true that the Home still depends almost entirely on the generous support of you, our friends and donors here in the UK and elsewhere, but it is hugely cheering to think that the Home's reputation continues to grow locally. One of the reports received recently was from the caring, compassionate and efficient Director of the Home, Fabiola Cárdenas, who mentions donations from a local cement manufacturer to help with improvements to the Home's bathrooms, and others from building firms to help with repairs to the roof. She also mentions the regular speech and music therapy sessions now introduced. There are many good reasons for the progress being made: your support, the valiant work in Piura, and the efforts of volunteers. The reputation of the Home is spreading, and sometimes, in addition to the locals, visitors passing through Piura - German, Dutch, American and other nationalities - help out for a while, and take the good news back to their countries. Then there are the volunteers from the UK: John and Bridget Collins spent seven weeks in the home and were able to introduce a number of highly beneficial management changes. John and Bridget liked what they saw so much that they are keen to go back again soon, and the Home is keen to have them! Their detailed and delightful reports on life in the Home can be found at: www. facebook.com/anitagoulden.home. Volunteers Mel Jackson, Michelle Turton and Saskia Shutt all greatly endeared themselves to everyone in Piura, and soon to go out is Victoria Thorne. I could go on for a long time, but I mustn't, so I can do no better than end with a few words from Saskia's report on her visit (see more of it in this Newsletter) which seem to me to sum up the experience of all who visit the Home: ‘Every day was filled with laughter…and I hope to go back again for lots more smiles…'All this is possible because of you, our supporters, and all connected with the Home are immensely grateful to you. Please continue to help us if you can.

Days Filled with Smiles by Saskia Shutt

Pedro with toy train.

Watching Pedro's face light up when playing
with his toy train for the first time

I was lucky to spend time volunteering in the Anita Goulden Hogar in August and I am delighted to share with you just a small snapshot of my time there. I would come downstairs to the sounds of the house starting the day. Vicky and Chavela would be having their morning conversations and Sandra would be busy in the kitchen preparing the day's food. It's a very busy time of the day and when Jaime comes back from the bakery with the fresh bread, everyone has breakfast.

Blowing bubbles with Jose Luis.

Jose Luis, blowing bubbles

After breakfast, one thing that I used to love to do is take Angelica to her bedroom, turn on the radio and the sensory lights. She used to get so excited that she would shriek with laughter and then we would dance together to the music. It was also a fun way to encourage Angelica to hold her head up, increase her arm movements and strengthen her handgrip as she held on tightly to my thumbs. Pedro used to join us and the three of us would dance and sing and have lots of fun. Music is a big part of the home and twice a week there is lots of excitement when we have the music therapy session. Vicky loves to dance and is always the first in the centre of the circle. For Angel, this is also an amazing session as, given he has severely impaired vision, sound and movement are vital for him. We always made sure that he was in the middle and we twirled him around in his chair, which made his face light up with his beautiful big smile. Everyday was filled with laughter and we played lots of ball games. I used to bounce the ball for Ivan to catch and throw back and when we missed Jhon used to love it, so of course I used to drop the ball a lot more than was necessary! Pedro was my adorable little shadow in the house and we had lots of fun throughout the days but it was the quiet time, when everybody else had gone to bed, that I will remember best. I used to sit him on my knee in front of the mirrors and we would practice his vowel sounds. His favourite was ‘O' but we were working on ‘U' together and learning how his face moves and looks and feels when he makes that noise. Practice makes perfect and by the time I left, he could say it and I was very proud of him. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that when I see him next, he might even have a few words. This is a tiny window into my daily life at the Home and I hope to go back again very soon for lots more smiles and laughter.

Angelica.

Dancing and giggling
with Angelica

Jaime Painting.

Watching Peru Tiene Talento at nights
with Jaime and taking silly photos on my iPad

John Collins Remembers Leaving Piura Last Year

"Don't look back" was the mantra I repeated constantly to my wife Bridget as we walked along the dusty dirt road the Anita Goulden Home in Piura is located on for the last time. Behind us, standing at that main door waving us goodbye, were several members of the incredible staff from the Home, along with a number of the residents, who had been wheeled out as an official send-off committee for the two of us. In the hour before, we had been treated to the most wonderful and emotional farewell imaginable, with the staff and residents proving themselves to be warm, caring and genuine right to the end.

Of course my plea to my better half was more of a coping mechanism for us than a heartless instruction, for we both knew that had we turned around to see what was taking place behind us, then there would have been a very real risk that we wouldn't have made our flight to Lima, which was leaving two hours later. Since that day we've done our best to keep in touch with life in the Home via Skype calls and also through emails. It is wonderful to see so much real progress being made by the staff and management, particularly over the past few months; and I say that most genuinely. From what we have heard and seen through these conversations and photos, there appears to be a real energy about the place at the moment. Maybe it is in part to do with the commitment, vibrancy and enthusiasm that the various groups of local volunteers continue to bring to the Home during their regular activity sessions and visits. Or maybe it is to do with the way in which local businesses, by way of small regular donations, are starting to embrace the Home more fondly. Whatever the case, it has had a really positive impact on the entire project. For those at the coalface, those tasked with running the Home on a daily basis, such outside involvement provides a massive boost on the days when the going gets tough and those brilliant smiles are harder to come by.

Merely by noting the Facebook posts that are added regularly by the management, it is easy to see that the Anita Goulden Home continues to be a happy place. That sense of happiness has definitely been passed on to the Home's two newest residents, young Jhon and Angel, both of whom appear smiling and relaxed in every photo of them that is taken. Meanwhile, the babies of the Home during our stint there, Milagros and Pedro, continue to effortlessly charm everyone that passes through the door. As stated earlier, we have tried hard to keep in touch with the Home and the staff, and that contact is helped greatly by the wonderful relationship we developed with the matriarch of the organisation, the indefatigable Anita Mollet. We had the pleasure of entertaining Anita in our home here in Malaga for a few days during the summer, while she visited family in Europe.

Everyday was full of highlights and everyone was unforgettable.

Everyday was full of highlights and everyone was unforgettable

Given all the support, help, hospitality and care that she extended to us during our stay in Piura, it was wonderful to be able to repay her in some small way over the course of her brief stay with us. It's hard to believe that it is a year since we left the Hogar Anita Goulden in Piura, after seven humbling and incredibly rewarding weeks. Ironically, despite our determined stance when walking away from the place, we have done little else other than look back, as we have talked constantly about the Home, about the staff and especially about the residents. When asked about the Home I say to people that it is a place that really gets under your skin. The great thing about it though is that it provides you with the sort of itch that you really know you'll enjoy scratching. Newsflash: Readers also will have seen John Collins' delightful memories of his visit to the Home last year in our last Newsletter. We are now very pleased to announce (you read it here first!) that John has just accepted our invitation to become a Trustee.

Financial Report by David Thomas

It is impossible to overstate the importance of the regular donations that the Trust receives from its supporters in the UK. The excellent local committee in Piura has been doing an outstanding job of raising awareness of the Home in the town and this is leading to a growing flow of donations from local businesses and individuals. These extremely welcome and valuable contributions are, however, almost exclusively of materials, supplies and people's voluntary services. The Trust remains effectively the only source of the vital financial resources that pay salaries of nurses, physiotherapists and staff of the Home and meet other essential costs. So that your donations make the greatest possible contribution to the Home and its residents, expenses of the Trust are kept to an absolute minimum. The Trustees and Administrator receive no remuneration and the Trust has no paid employees. The local committee in Piura is also made up of unpaid volunteers. In the last financial year, out of pocket administration costs and bank charges amounted to only a little over 7 per cent of the funds that were sent to the Home. Despite these precautions, the cash cost of running the Home still exceeded the total of funds received by the Trust. Whatever help readers of this newsletter can give us through donations and legacies will be of great significance in ensuring that the remarkable work of the Home can continue.

Jhon.

Jhon

Angel.

Angel

Jhon And Angel

Since our last newsletter, the Anita Goulden Home in Piura has welcomed two new permanent residents, Jhon and Angel, both of whom were in desperate need of full-time care as well as lengthy, individually-planned therapy programmes. Jhon has cerebral palsy, which has resulted in him having very limited movement of his limbs. Despite this disability, he is a very attentive little boy, who is always alert to what is happening around him. He has quickly become an immensely popular figure with both the staff as well as visitors to the Home. Whilst Jhon is unable to speak, he does communicate very readily using his smile and head movements. As part of his therapy programme, he is currently using splints to help straighten his hands and legs as they grow. He is very much enjoying and responding to the array of physical and interactive therapies that he is being exposed to since moving into the Home. Jhon's fellow new arrival is Angel, a sweet boy who suffered brain damage at birth. As a result he has very limited mobility in his arms and legs. When he came to the Home he was acutely malnourished and his growth had been severely stunted as a result; a combination of poverty and a lack of knowledge on behalf of his family. When he first arrived in the Home he rarely opened his eyes and he was frightened by the presence of others. However, he has been receiving physiotherapy, as well as speech and music therapy, and is visibly improving day by day, a development that bodes well for his future progress within the Home.

The Chilalo Bird

This compilation of memories of and tributes to Anita has sold very well indeed and the feedback has been excellent. However, there are still some copies left so do send off for one - it would make a good Christmas present. £11 includes postage.

Our Patron / Wills

Many congratulations to our Patron, Nicholas Shakespeare, whose newly published book (Priscilla:The Hidden Life of an Englishwoman in Wartime France) gets a glowing review from The Sunday Times: ‘gripping…intriguing…engrossing…'. Wills: We benefit greatly from legacies so do consider mentioning the Trust when you make or update your Will.