Rebeca White in Gaimin, province of Chubut, Argentina, is the secretary of the Saint David’s Association of Trelew, in Argentina. She was born in the small town of El Maiten in Chubut.
In an interview with Wales Weekly, she enthusiastically described her childhood as the daughter of a family with seven siblings who attended the first Welsh secondary school in the province of Chubut. She has been working hard on the celebration of the 150th anniversary. The president of the association is Wendell Davies, a retired banker who says. “We are enthusiastic but here in Argentina the economic situation is not clear; the exchange rate of the dollar to the Argentinian Peso makes it hard to plan expenses in advance”,
There is a plan of different projects to increase awareness of the Welsh language, history and culture. In the city of Rawson the plan is to rename some streets and erect a sculpture.
Though the complete programme has not been firmed up, there are many groups working on the anniversary.
The cities of the province of Chubut with strong Welsh ascent are Trelew, the capital and Puerto Madryn, Gaiman, Rawson, Veintiocho de Julio, Esquel, Trevelin, Sarmiento and Comodoro Rivadavia.
One of these cities will be the place where on July 28th the feast of the landing of the Welsh in Patagonia will take place.
According to Wendell Davies the Welsh Language spoken in Patagonia is different from the one spoken today in Wales. He says: “It is really old Welsh.” A Census will be carried out in 2015 when it will be known how many people in Argentina speak the old Welsh language. Davies estimates that at least five thousand people speak it.
By Andres Bande