Posts Tagged ‘malaria’

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.

Advertisements

It was on May 23, 1942, that we finally left Corregidor, and none too soon. There were men dying every day that we were in the 92nd Garage Area from the heat, wounds, malaria, and other causes. On the 23rd of May we went aboard a Japanese ship, Onnatta Maru. I don’t know how they managed to get so many of us on one ship, but by the time we had quit coming aboard, we had standing room only. There was no food or water to be had and no sanitation. Neither was there any medicine available. We stayed aboard this ship over night, and the next morning, we weighed anchor and headed for Manila.

Corregidor Isle

I lived a while on Corregidor Isle,

Ah, that sun kissed, God cursed land

Where bomb and shell made life a hell

With death on every hand.

Then I got the thirst of the cussed

With no water to be had.

I heard men scream in that hellish dream

And watched my friends go mad.

It’s no man’s fault that water is salt

Or that the food is gone.

That guns are manned by men who are damned

To face death with every dawn.

Some hold their breath and await the death

That comes with bursting shell.

As bombers mourn, some think of home,

Or what they will do in hell.

When our bones blend with the stones,

You’ll hear the parrots cry,

“The men who owned those splintered bones

Were not afraid to die.”

Author Unknown