Moises is a potter in San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua, who prides himself on creating custom pieces to suit his customers' desires. He uses a traditional hand-powered wheel because the quality of the work is very important to him.
"This business has been running for 40 years. It is a pioneer in this community," Moises shares. "It's a business we inherited from our grandparents and it should last for many years more."
Moises makes two types of ceramics – kitchen and ornamental – though most of his pieces are used in the kitchen. "In the areas where we are, most of the families make pottery, but I'm the only one who makes these big pots." Moises can make up to 20 of these large pots, used to store rice, in two days.
The clay, from mines in his community, is prepared by local people. Moises adds water and sand to make the clay more flexible. Once he has created the shape, he embellishes it with carvings or decorations.
Then he lets the piece dry before taking it to the oven. The oven is fired two to three times per week, depending on demand. Afterwards, the pottery is either painted or left plain.
Moises sells his pottery in the local market and to tourists who visit his shop. A recent loan from MiCredito, MEDA's microfinance partner in Nicaragua, allowed him to enhance the shopping experience for shop visitors. "We used the loan to improve the sanitation in the house," Moises explained. "Before we just had a latrine but we wanted to provide better for our customers."