Contra War

In 1982 war broke out among the villages of the mountains where we were staying in Nicaragua. The communist Sandinistas had taken power. A rag tag group of men had formed a guerilla force to fight against the new government, they called themselves the Contras. For nearly ten years they fought along these mountainsides. The communists took men by force to join the army. They ran people out of their homes. They killed Christians. The pastor of the church where we stayed told me of twelve pastors who were killed together in a field. The church suffered greatly.

We made a trip to San Fernando a neighboring little town. Roger pointed to a house high on a hill and said "somebody told me that used to be the headquarters" at first he thought it was the headquarters for the Contras but later we found out it had been the headquarters of the communists.

So we made our way up the hill to talk to the people living there. Sure enough, the lady who answered the door told us it was once the headquarters for the Sandinistas. The house had been remodeled but she said, in the basement there are still writings and pictures on the wall if we would like to see them. Yes!! we said, we would love to see it. We followed her into the house where she lifted a door in the floor that led to the basement. It was obvious nobody had come down here in a long time as bats began to make a quick exit.

There in the basement in these three large rooms is where the communists kept their wounded and their prisoners of war. On the walls were scratched the names of some of the men who had stayed there. Others had drawn pictures such as a gun and a man with a mask. They had code names such as BON 105.

Leading from the basement out the back door was a large patio. The lady told us that when they had first moved into the house, this backyard was full of common graves.

You can see in the picture with the wood stacked on the ground, that there is a patch of newer cement. This was once a large common grave.

The lady who owned the house had lived here before the war. The communists kicked her out of her home and she moved to a house just a short distance away. They forced her son into the army and over the next ten years they would destroy she and her husband's home. She said it was a terrible time. Neighbors fought against neighbors and friends and against friends. But after the war, they were able to move back into their house. Little by little they fixed it back up. They fixed the trenches that were dug around the house. Repainted the graffiti filled walls and have regained somewhat of a normal life. But the house still stands with the scars of war. It was interesting to hear their stories. To see where history took place.


nana said...

It looks like you had a great time.
These are all very interesting pictures.

Dorcas said...

Wow!! That's unbelievable and you got to hear that story from someone involved!! Amazing!! But the part about the bats is horrible! YUCK!!