This could be a fictional piece from World War II. Or maybe a recount from today’s highly modern world of iPods and broadband. I say it’s the former. You decide.
I don’t like camps. Friends who went through them first told me what they were like. I didn’t want to go. I knew what I was going to.
We had to dig. For about six to eights hours, we just swung the blade at the hard ground. Rocks. Tree roots. Insect nests. The earthwork was about two feet deep, maybe three. The length of your body. Mud, water and sandbags. You slept on the bare soil, if you could, in an unchanged clothing you’ve been wearing for the past few days. Filthy.
Through the days you don’t get to bath. We have powder, but the comfort doesn’t last that long. When you get home, you feel like burning your clothing instead of washing them.
The helmets were like meeting hell, in reverse. You sweat from your head, your hair, a lot. And the helmets cover these areas well. They trap sweat, dirt and mud very well. And whenever we were made to put on our full gear, the helmet would instantly kill whatever little optimistic we have left.
And the insects were merciless. Sandflies. Mosquitoes. And even ants with huge jaws. For each of them, they had their own bite. And for each bite, there was its own itch. And for each itch, there was its own way of driving you mad, scratching till you get scars all over.
Sleep. Can never be a comfortable thing, but you were just that tired. But you couldn’t. You have to be on duty, on guard. Should anyone infiltrate your base, that was it. During dawn and dusk, you could have a doze. Not much more. Six in the morning, six in the evening, stand-to and you had to chew on biscuits to stay awake.
I need a break for now.