Granada, Nicaragua – Heliberto and Family Handmade Ceramics

Heliberto's wife, Idalia, and 2 of her sisters making clay bird-whistles

Heliberto’s wife, Idalia, and 2 of her sisters making clay bird-whistles

When Heliberto first approached us in Granada, Nicaragua central park with his painted clay bird-whistles, we were skeptical.  We didn’t know if he was giving us a high price, or if he was just reselling the whistles with a story that he and his family had made them.

Well, the more we talked with Heliberto, the more honest, hard-working, kind, humble, and sincere he seemed to be.  Our short chat about his handmade ceramics ended with his offer to escort us up to his hilly home in Catarina, an hour bus ride away, to go see for ourselves!

The enchantment of this day is indescribable.  I spent 40 hours editing this video, squirming over what to cut out.  Every minute of footage was packed with so much magic, I did not know how to begin.  From the fascinating craftsmanship, to the humble dirt floors, to the walls made of recycled shipping pallets, to the house made of bamboo and plastic, to 8 kids sharing 1 small bag of chips, to playing baseball on a diamond populated with banana and mango trees with a stick and wadded sock, to the most gentle and snugly rooster I’ve ever seen, I couldn’t bear cutting anything out.  I just wanted so badly to share it all, every minute, every thought, every feeling.

Well, I did have to cut it out, BUT I asked Heliberto if he would be interested in offering a similar experience to tourists that wanted a glimpse into real, Nicaraguan, working-family lifestyle, and he got very excited.  He is the best kind of people person, and lit up with the chance to meet and share with other people.  I wish everybody could spend a day with Heliberto.

If you are traveling to Granada, and would like to spend the day, or an hour, or a minute with Heliberto, please email me and I will help you arrange it with him: (he doesn’t have email…yet :))

Heliberto explained that the hardest part of handmade ceramics is gaining the trust of the tourists.  Latin America has a reputation for being unsafe and untrustworthy.  Trying to sell to suspicious tourists who have no reason to trust you is near impossible.  One must rely on pity and annoying persistence, rather than the quality and character of one’s product.  Please share this video so that the world can meet Heliberto, so next time he approaches a tourist in Granada central park with his clay bird-whistles, they’ll know just where, and who they are coming from.


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