photo of child


The funds are thus constantly replenished and made available for all who were in need. No one was left out or left behind.

Weston Benedictine Monks
Journey to Nicaragua
Winter Retreat, 2001

traveling along the road
A trip to the countryside:
New homes for hurricane victims


With Doña Florencia in the lead, we hike along the road for about ten minutes to the next neighboring house.

a new house in the countryside

It is set back several hundred feet from the road on a slope looking down across a field of millet.

The family gathers at the house to welcome us and show us around. The interior seems small to accommodate the number of children and adults in this extended family.

girl cooking over fireplace

Furnishings are limited to bare essentials. The local families have provided the labor to construct their homes after the hurricane and have thus stretched the funds managed by the Mexican sisters so that more homes could be built and no one left out.

We then proceed through some fields, crossing barbed wire fences, avoiding the nettles and possible snakes along the path.

The next house we visit has likewise been designed and built by the family that lives there. Its occupants are especially happy that they have been able to rebuild on the same location as their previous home. There is a sweeping view of the valley far below and distant mountains.

We stop briefly at the new houses, chat with the family members gathered to receive us and we hear of their struggles.

family gathering

With feeling, they express their gratitude that people whom they have never met, and may never see, have reached out a helping hand to assist them when they lost their home at the hands of Hurricane Mitch.

Each member of this extended family has some role to play within the life of this community. They are very shy and speak in short and simple phrases. Here, nothing is wasted.

The houses are simple but have the mark of care and individuality. Neighbors joined together and provided the labor for constructing the new homes. Materials were purchased through the revolving fund that was set up by the sisters from donations from the United States, including those from friends of Weston Priory.

The funds are thus constantly replenished and made available for all who were in need. No one was left out or left behind.

Families were able to build their houses on sites of their own choice. They locate near the places where they work and usually have a lovely view of the countryside.

By one of the houses, a group of men is threshing millet. Three men on the raised platform beat the harvested plant with long sticks as an older man sweeps the grain that has fallen to the earth into a pile on the ground. The chaff blows away in the wind.

men threshing millet by hand, with children in foreground
Men on platform, threshing millet by hand

Children are playing and watching the adults at their work. There is a happy spirit around, as people are thankful that at last they have been able to reap a crop after the years of drought.

We bid a joyful farewell to Doña Florencia and her extended family, the people of Quebrada de Agua.

As we journey back through the dry countryside, a lone, out-of-season raincloud is illuminated by the late afternoon sun. There is a beautiful rainbow that everyone can see.

Next: 'Though our country is small, our dream is great'

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