Ensira pottery center – Afincho Ber – እንስራ የሸክላ ማዕከል – አፍንጮ በር

This is one of the most fascinating places you can visit in Addis Ababa: since yesterday, it has become part of the community network collaborating with Baregota Travel and Ayzoh! It’s a cooperative, composed of 99% women, where pottery is crafted.

All the artisans are immensely talented, take great pride in their work, and have control over the entire production process from A to Z. The resulting objects are truly beautiful. Inside, there’s a cheerful and relaxed atmosphere. Conversations flow abundantly, and gossip is in the air. Children bounce around, sleep, and play amidst jugs, plates, and bowls. Occasionally, they misjudge a leap and break something. They get a stern look and then, “cigge yellem” (no problem), they either resume playing or learn to piece together the fragments of what they’ve broken.

In Europe, a similar place would probably be promptly closed for safety reasons. Social workers would undoubtedly interfere, dictating what is right and wrong. Even I, initially, witnessing those little girls playing amidst smoke, bonfires, and glowing pieces of wood, immediately feared the worst. Perhaps I too am influenced by the myth of absolute control and safety prevailing in the “West,” which is producing masses of sad, fearful, weak, and resentful individuals. Life cannot be fully controlled.

Yet, it seems there have never been any accidents: those little girls are alert ❤. Certainly, they will grow up well, strong, and independent. Many of them will join the revolution happening here – a blend of tradition and innovation – that girls and women are spearheading. But that’s another story…