Posts Tagged ‘amebic dysentery’

Chapter 6

It was on August 2, 1943, that I was moved again. This time I went to Sinagow, an [three unreadable letters]lation [may say “isolation”] camp just outside of Tokyo. I was found to have amebic dysentery along with forty other Prisoners [sic] from my camp, and prisoners from other camps were brought there also, making a total number of at least 150. Miserable days lay ahead, as I stayed in this camp until Jan 12, 1944. The day that we went into this camp, we automatically went on one-third rations as this was the way the Japs treated sick men. In this camp I never had the chance to do any swapping, nor was I able to hit any garbage boxes for something extra to eat. I began to lose weight and was losing my strength real fast.

Time surely went by slowly for there was no work to do and there was nothing in this camp that one could read. The Camp Commandant was just like the one we had just left. He liked to slap us around, and his favorite punishment was to make us do heavy calisthenics. There was the whoo saw exercise [sic] that was quite strenuous, and it took our strength real fast. Then he would make us follow up with push-ups, and we would continue to do these until we were not able to do another one. As soon as we stopped, the guard came over and slapped us around. One time we were doing these push-ups, and I was completely exhausted- so much so, that I felt I could not do one more if my life depended on it. The Nip thought that I should more [sic] and hit me with a hay-maker right to the jaw, and then he came back with a back hand that caught me off balance. I fell into the Nip, and he said I struck him, so he took off his wooden thongs that he was wearing and he really worked me over. My face and eyes showed it for a week or ten days, and I still carry a scalp scar.

The island of Formosa is a beautiful island with high rugged mountains that broke the sky line in the distance. Each morning we went to work, we traveled through a beautiful banana grove, and within thirty yards of the trees loaded with ripe bananas, but we were not allowed to get one piece of fruit. We all thought that we would be getting plenty of bananas in camp, but this was not so, as they issued us bananas only twice during the six weeks’ period we were in this camp. We were so hungry when we were given bananas that we ate peel and all. The food in this camp was less even than in our previous camps, and after five months on a meager ration of soup and rice, all the men in camp were beginning to show the loss of weight as we strived to stay alive. By using the banana peels that the Japs had thrown away, we made a type of tea. They were dried from the sun, but by putting them in hot water, we made a flavored drink that we called banana tea or coffee.

The work went on each day; it was hard work and the hours were long, and it was becoming harder each day to get out the working party. Sickness, and weakness from too little food and too much hard work began to take its toll. The water we were drinking was coming out of irrigation ditches. It was supposed to have been boiled twenty minutes before we got it, but many times it was heated to the simmering point and then given to us to drink.

It was here that I got amebic dysentery, and the mosquitoes were so bad that I contacted [sic] malaria. All the medicine that I had once had was gone, and the Japs did not have any medicine for us. This was also the camp where I ate my first slugs or snails, the big dry land type. I don’t recommend them as food for anyone, as they tasted like mud.