March 2013- Nicaragua “Potters for Peace” Trip Day 2

Our room woke up early, perhaps because of the bustling city or the barking dog. We sat out in the patio drinking the decadent coffee and waiting for breakfast. Eventually the rest of the girls woke up and joined Hazel and my room in drinking coffee. Haley and Maggie must have had 8 cups each. I asked Robert how high up Jinotaga was. He said he thought it was at an altitude of around 4,500 ft. I think I looked it up later and found out it is at an altitude of about 3330 ft. Robert is quite the charachter. His physical mannerisms are that of a circus contortionist. My favorite thing about Robert over the week was his laugh. It was so genuine just like his vision and passion for Potters for Peace. After a breakfast of tortillas, eggs, rice and beans, and fruit we headed out for a day of work. Our first stop was “Polly” which is a Central American WalMart. Everybody but Haley and I bought candy. We arrived at Lascurenas which is where we were working for the next two days. When we arrived at the Ceramica Negra Coop. there was an American tourist group watching the ladies demonstrate their techniques. While the tourists were there we just had to relax and wait. Robert said that the tourist groups had just started coming to the ceramics studio and has been great for the ladies of Las Curenas. After a lot of watching people throw we finally began work. We were building a second kiln for the ladies. Alvero, Robert’s son-in-law, was angery that they had already started the foundation because we were planning on building it even larger for them. The building process was very haphazard– nothing like the meticulous measuring and technique for the stoves in Guatemala. This “no plan” way of work was hard for me to adjust to, but I realized that this was going to be the norm for the week.

After lunch we went out to mix more of the mortar. First, we dug dirt from behind their building. Then we carried it over to the work space. Most of the girls followed the mason and went to collect “kaka” or in other words, cow poop. We then proceeded to beat the kaka until it turned to a fine powder. The next step was to mix in Spanish moss with the dirt. After sprinkling the kaka onto the pile we added water and mixed it up well. Once the work was finished we watched the ladies throw. Some of our girls threw on the wheel too. There was a lot of silence and watching. A little later a group of us got together and went to the well to fill up the water jugs. Once it was late enough after lunch Robert said it was time to go. We went back to Hotel Zoy and attempted to wipe off the excessive amounts of mortar off of our bodies.

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