The Witness for Peace travelers began to see a little of the city of Managua on their first day on the ground. I found that a group of Benedictine Monks also chronicled a similar trip in 1988. A photo on this site, unidentified for location, looks like the "violent murals" that my mother refers to in her notes. This is what she said about that Sunday:
Up early and no water. A man brought me a can full and a plastic bowl, my shower for today.
General orientation with Don:
- Buddy system, I am paired with Kate Adams
- Clayton and I to do daily health checks
- Ask to take pictures of people
- Shake hands, hello and good by
- Water is ok in Managua
- Water is off here on Monday and Thursday about 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. from two tanks, may get some
- Carry passport and yellow paper visa at all times
Breakfast of rice, two fried eggs, hot bread, and mango juice. Off to the Cardinal’s church. Bad streets, houses have open doors but barred windows, loud music, abject poverty to our eyes.
The cathedral was destroyed in the earthquake of ’72. This church is used by the Cardinal (Abano). He did not say this Mass. Church was nearly filled, all doors wide open. The music was surprisingly up-beat, a structured liturgy with communion on the tongue. The sermon was on the Gospel, but somewhat political with applause at the end, anti-government (so say those who understood.) It was a medium sized church, not at all ornate.
Lunch at a restaurant, then a city tour. No real sense of “city,” very spread out, many shells from the earthquake, grassy spots then normal looking buildings. None are very tall, only two hotels and a bank are.Videotaped by a TV crew on us TV added to push to get rid of Samoza. Huge statue of a peasant/soldier, gun in one hand and ? in other. Children’s park, a memorial for 12 year old boy martyr. Many families in the park, food vendors, rides. We walked through to the Grand Plaza. National on one side, Cathedral, memorials, graves of ?, eternal flame. Also a Buddhist monk from Japan on a 40 day fast in solidarity with the Nicaraguan people and in memory of Hiroshima/Nagasaki, begun on August 6th. When it began to rain he covered his shrine and continued to sit there.
Then we went to a new church for the 5:30 Mass. Music was quieter than I expected. Church is almost round, with violent murals, people coming and going, crowded. Again the homily was on the reading and the priest was applauded but his reflection was different, then two women and a man spoke. At the offertory the congregation went to the altar with their contributions. We sang “We Shall Overcome” and the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Back to the hotel after for supper of chicken, rice, and beans with yucca, tomato, coleslaw salad and a fruit drink.
Reflection turned into a wrangle over the man we took from the cathedral to Mass and sent home in a taxi.
Last night was punctuated by a thunder storm, then the roosters. Another long day.