Before I started making pottery, I had the idea that you had to make a perfect pot. Over time I have come to realize there is no such thing as a perfect pot. There is a relationship between the potter and the clay, and the clay has a mind of its own. You can shape it and bend it to a certain extent. But if you try to mold the clay in a way it doesn’t want to go, it will end up in your lap. [laughs] Pottery is a good teacher. It teaches you patience and how to get centered and not think about anything but doing pottery. If you start thinking about something else, you’ll end up with the clay flying across the room. It just keeps me in the moment. It took me years and years to learn that you don’t try to create a certain number of pots in a given period of time. You just have to concentrate on what you’re doing right now and hope that you get something that somebody will like. A lot of times I will work on a pot that I don’t think is all that good, but then somebody comes by the table and really enjoys it and pays money for it. Evidently, somebody liked it. [smiles]


Ludovina Pacheco

DeathThe day before he died, my grandpa gave me a gift and asked me to pray for his soul because he was on the way to our Father’s house. We talked a lot that evening. Very lucid, he repeated once more: ‘My dear, pray for my soul.’ I went home, and at four in the morning we received the news that he had died. I remembered then what he had asked me. Before she died, eleven months later, my grandma asked me the same thing. I was 18 years old.


Alice Waua Mwololo

WorkMy passion is making baskets out of beads and jewelry. I also make rosaries. I work from my house. I cannot afford to rent a shop. My clients come to the house to buy what they want. However, during the day, I hawk my wares around the area I live in. People love beaded jewelry, so I am able to make a few coins.


María Dolores de Guevara Ribadas

StruggleMy parents would make everything stretch like a piece of gum. I remember my parents having only bread soup for dinner from the leftover ration bread. Even in this situation, my mother would share with an old lady who often came to beg. Despite what this might look like, there was always happiness at home. We sang and looked at life with optimism. Overcoming challenges was a constant in my parents’ life.


Carlos E. Obando

LoveI grew up without a dad. We went through a lot with my parents’ divorce. When I came to the United States, I was bleeding all over the place. But I didn’t want to recognize it. It was very easy for me to love somebody, but it was extremely difficult to be loved by somebody. Because I was so hurt, I was not able to pull down all the fences that were protecting my heart.


Andrea Mendoza Chiviliú

WorkI create traditional fabrics that I sell to tourists who visit the town I live in. My mother taught me how to work with fabrics. She used to tell me I should learn to work so that I could cover the family expenses when I got married. My work did help my husband and me cover our many needs.


Kerry Egan

DeathSix years ago, I met Jim. I was his hospice chaplain. At our first meeting, he told me he had a message to get out to thousands of people. ‘I know what it feels like when the Holy Spirit has a job for me,’ he said. ‘I’ve got to get a message out, but how can I do it when I can’t even get out of this recliner?’