A birthday party or any other celebration in Nicaragua isn’t complete without a piñata! In Granada, you can have a piñata custom-made for your event - or even make your own. Just a few weeks ago, my 12-year-old friend, Fany, and I visited a workshop on Calle La Inmaculada close to Parque Sandino where dozens of piñatas in popular styles are made six days a week by some very special workers.
By Tom Phillips
At Taller Piñata, a project of AMAN (Association of Disabled Artisans of Nicaragua), Corrine Perdomo, a single mother of two in her mid-forties, supervises a group of adults who have Down’s Syndrome, a genetic dysfunction which reduces their capacity for sophisticated thought, but leaves them capable of a fairly independent lifestyle and able to perform simple tasks. Corrine, originally from the Canary Islands, has been working with the Down’s Syndrome community in Granada for several years.
Making piñatas is a good match for the workers’ skill level as they can work at their own pace and mostly by themselves with minimal supervision, and in creative and enjoyable work. Using recycled paper from kind people who donate clean, used paper, cardboard and magazines, the workers start with a “skeleton” of cardboard. They patiently add on the “flesh” in the form of wetted newsprint, molding the figure by hand, and then put on the “skin” of white paper. After drying, they add artistic touches of eyes and facial features, and decorative crepe paper in various colors.
Fany was not enthused at first about handling the wet newsprint and sticky paste, but got over that as she saw her project develop, and soon set to work with determination. When she had the finished “piolin” (“tweety bird”) in her hands she held it proudly up for a photo.
You can make an appointment to create your own piñata, or you can drop by the center any time from 8am to 7pm from Monday to Saturday to buy a ready-made piñata or to special order one in any size, shape and colors. The workshop is easy to find on la Calle Inmaculada: one block toward the lake from La Union Supermarket or one block west of Parque Sandino (telephone 8564-8874; website: http://www.wix.com/armonia007/aman). Look for the piñatas hanging in front - they can’t be missed!
How to Get Involved:
Donate paper of all types. Tables, chairs, and other furniture are also needed.
Volunteer - volunteers are always welcome!
Buy a Piñata. Piñatas cost from C$30 to C$600 Córdoba’s; proceeds from piñata sales are used to support the project’s operating costs and pay the workers a small salary. Most special orders can be ready the next day. Allow a few days for anything unusual.