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Spanish Mothers Stripped to Debt

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Spanish Mothers in Debt After Trying a Nude Fund-raising Calendar For School
Spanish Mothers in Debt After Trying a Nude Fund-raising Calendar For School

Seven middle-aged Spanish mothers who posed for a tongue-in-cheek nude calendar - a fundraiser for their children's tiny, rural school - are now saddled with debt and 5,000 unwanted copies.

One of the photos shows the mothers with Christmas tinsel as their only garb - no private parts on view. Other goofy poses include a shotgun-toting mother wearing only a fox pelt and kneeling on a table, and another shows a woman covering her body with a red umbrella on a picnic table.

A group of British women made more than a million pounds and worldwide headlines when they came up with the idea of a discreet nude calendar for 2000 to raise money for leukemia research. Their story was made into a hit movie, "Calendar Girls."

In Spain, the photos came out as calendars in November and at first proved to be a big hit. But the plan fizzled.

The women acknowledge being rank amateurs in publishing and advertising, and because of a miscue with a distributor they missed out on the Christmas shopping rush. Now, sales of the $8 calendar have dried up and they owe a printer nearly $16,000.

"The sad part for us is figuring out what to do with them because it is not something you can recycle," said Rosa Garin, 36, one of the models in Serradilla del Arroyo, a village of 400 people in northern Salamanca province.

The hamlet is a snapshot of rural Spain: quaint but graying, with retirees accounting for 75 percent of the population. The arrival of a new family with small children is greeted like manna from heaven. Funding for services is scant.

Its elementary school has one classroom and one teacher who handles its seven pupils, spanning four grades, and ranging in age from 7 to 11. But it is so cramped, the village matrons came up with the idea of building a recreation center for their kids.

"Nobody remembers the villages. Everybody comes and says, 'Wow, this is so pretty, what lovely countryside, you live so well here,' but then they don't help you at all. They give you absolutely nothing," Itziar Zamarreno, a 40-year-old town councilor who posed for the calendar, said in an interview Tuesday.

Among other pictures, she appears as Miss October, covered only with fox fur and holding a borrowed shotgun. This reflects a desire to depict typical scenes in an area where hunting is popular.

"I do not like to hunt. I do not like to kill things. But we had to do something representative," she said.

The plight of the mothers of Serradilla del Arroyo resurfaced recently because the distributor filed a complaint alleging they were behind on payments and local media picked up the story.
 
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