1 of 4
2 of 4
3 of 4
4 of 4
Potters for Peace is an NGO that works with subsistence potters in Nicaragua and once a year they organize a "brigade" of people, usually potters, from other countries (mostly North America) who travel through the Nicaraguan countryside to visit small potteries there. This year was my second year on the brigade, an unforgettable experience. Potters for Peace has two main activities: supporting Nicaraguan potters and facilitating the building of factories that make an effective but inexpensive clay water filter.
included Robert Pillers, an American living in Managua and the leader of the expedition; Alvaro Aburto, Robert's son-in-law and our leader-in-training; Beatriz Fiallos, our Nicaraguan interpreter and her husband Fred Hamann, an American potter; Ivan Hernandez, our driver; and the brigadistas: Allison (California) Chris (Kentucky), Daisy (New Mexico) George (Iowa), other George (Florida), Maritza (La Sabaneta, Nicaragua), Merilee (Maryland), Mike (Oregon), and me (Vancouver, Canada). We got to know each other over a home-cooked breakfast on the patio ofKairos Centre, our hostel in Managua and then we piled into the van and drove to the nearby suburb of Ticuantepe to have a chat with Judy Butler, an American journalist and co-founder of Envio magazine, who has lived in Nicaragua since 1983. Judy filled us in on Nicaragua's troubled history of natural disasters (volcanoes, hurricanes and earthquakes), invasions (over 100 by the U.S. alone), wars and revolutions, and talked at length about her feelings for this tiny country and the revolution that seems to have gone wrong.
Granada (about 45 minutes away) where we visited Mi Museo, a museum that houses the private pre-Columbian pottery and artifact collection of Danish-born Peder Kolind. Fertility icons, jewelery, voluptuous funeral urns and pots covered with faded painting. Peder Kolind also runs Carita Feliz, a non-profit group that works with underprivileged children in Nicaragua.