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An anguished father places old newspapers under his wounded child to absorb the dripping blood.

Weston Benedictine Monks
Journey to Nicaragua
Winter Retreat, 2001

Remembering Managua, 1988:
The wounded children

(ONE OF A SERIES )

JANUARY 1988 (continued): Perhaps the most moving experience of our stay in Nicaragua in 1988 is the time spent in the Children's Hospital in Managua. A special section of the hospital is devoted to children who are the innocent victims of the Contra War. Fields surrounding the country villages have been mined with explosives. These land mines become terror and tragedy for unsuspecting children, playing or walking in these areas.

Land mine victims in Children's Hospital, Managua
Land mine victims in Children's Hospital, Managua

A semi-circle of Weston brothers and Mexican sisters stand around the foot of a hospital bed. An anguished father places old newspapers under his wounded child to absorb the dripping blood. His other little boy, also wounded, looks helplessly on. We can only weep as we try to sing a song of comfort and consolation -- or perhaps of silent contrition!

The hidden victims of the Contra War—the innocent children. And what will be their lot in 10 or 12 years—still crippled, still wounded and maimed? Who will be there to care for them?

Brothers with boy in wheelchair
'Never forget the faces of those children'

It is on this occasion that a song is born from among us:

    Never forget the faces of those children,
    War-torn with fear yet they smile.
    Forever they'll bear,
    Deep within their wounded bodies,
    The pain of injustice and sin.
    Copyright, The Benedictine Foundation of the State of Vermont

The United States Embassy

In our final days in Nicaragua, we meet with the representative of the U. S. Ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Managua.

Weston brothers waiting outside the U.S. Embassy
Weston brothers waiting outside the U.S. Embassy

In a courteous, somewhat formal exchange, we describe the events of our visit to this country and express our concern and objection to the United States support of the Contra War and the mining of the Nicaragua Harbor.

The official admits that members of the embassy do not mingle with the common people and so are not exposed to the kinds of experiences that we describe. The adamant position of the embassy holds that the existing Nicaraguan government threatens the security of the United States because of its links to Communist countries.

Even the condemnation by the World Court in Geneva of the blockade and mining of the harbor has no effect on the U.S. position.

Next: A very different journey: Managua, 2001

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