Posts Tagged ‘bananas’

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.

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On May 27, 1942, we were marched out of Bilibid, own [sic] to the railroad track, and there we were put into box cars as if we were cattle. The railroad cars were about one-third the size of the box cars here in the U.S. One hundred of us were forced into one car, and then Jap guards were put on top of the cars. We started our trip by rail which took us to Cabanatuan. We stopped many times on this trip, but we were not allowed to get out of the box car, and we had to stand all the way as there was not room to even sit or lie down.

We arrived in Cabanatuan just before the sun went down. They moved us to a small park that was in the center of this small town. Still there was no food for the masses, but a kind old Phillippino woman did give five of us a bucket of mangos and some bananas which we divided and ate.