Tuesday, October 25, 2016
A family I know (San Nicolás, familian Mahange') own land behind the Mañenggon camp, pictured above. In July of 1944, thousands of Chamorro people were huddled by the Japanese into this valley by the river. For several weeks they lived a precarious life, with death hanging over their heads, in physical and emotional distress, until the Japanese quietly up and left, knowing the Americans were just down the road.
To this day, some of the few survivors still with us have a hard time visiting this place. The memories remain with them as vivid and as upsetting as the time they lived there, more than 70 years ago.
It seems more than memories survive at Mañenggon.
A member of this family that owns land behind the Mañenggon Memorial related to me this story :
One weekend the family spent the day at our ranch in Mañenggon. The river flows past our property and there is a little dam and swimming hole beside our place. So I took the kids there to swim.
I was told by the elders to bring them all back to the ranch house before it got dark.
As I noticed the time, and the setting of the sun, I gathered all the kids together so we could start walking back to the family and our cars.
At that moment, I sensed a strange silence in the air. Then, I started hearing people screaming and crying, and then, the praying of the Rosary in Chamorro, but very fast, as if the person praying was in a panic.
No one but us was around, but I heard all of this.
So I quickly got the kids together and got them walking back. It should have been just a few minutes to walk back, but it seemed like forever, till we reached the others.