Rosa of the Wild Grass

About Fiona Macintosh & background to 'Rosa of the Wild Grass'

Fiona is a writer, artist and designer, qualified in Anthropology and Sociology, and practicing Art Psychotherapist.

Born and educated in Scotland, Fiona moved to London where she became involved during the 1970s with human rights work, helping Latin American refugees. This was a period when one military coup after another took control in the region forcing many to flee their homes. So when Nicaragua's dictatorship fell in 1979, it was the best news Fiona had heard in a long time, and she was keen to see the country for herself, though doubted that her graphic design skills would be in much demand.

When she arrived in 1981, she found the people hard at work reconstructing a country in ruins, and in fact her skills were very much needed, designing the new educational materials for the many grassroots and labour organisations that had sprung up since the revolution. Through this work she met Rosa, who was a plate maker in a print shop she often used. With Rosa's huge heart, wise head and way with words and ideas, Fiona knew she would tell an important story.

This became a collaboration born out of friendship, which began in 1987, with neither knowing where this would lead, but over the years a remarkable story unfolded of conflict, trauma and recovery through community spirit. Intermittently over 28 years Fiona recorded the accounts of Rosa, her mother MarĂ­a and extended family, to capture in each chapter the intimacy of their daily lives and enormous challenges they faced. It took until 2013 for Rosa and Fiona to both feel they had reached the end of what became 'Rosa of the Wild Grass, the Story of a Nicaraguan Family'. The book was published in 2016 by Latin America Bureau (LAB) in partnership with Practical Action Publishing Limited.

Fiona is currently working on an art exhibition that reflects on her experiences in Central America and relates to themes from the book.