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September 16, 1944

Well, another week has passed and no startling events have been forthcoming. The Japanese C.O. told the American C.O. just why it was necessary to have everybody work on the farm — simply this, it must support us. Food prices in Luzon are staggering — okra P .60 per pod, eggplant P 1.20 each and meat P 65 per kilo including bones. No more Japan details are rumored but we are still a little apprehensive on that score. The Nipponese are busy digging holes all over their part of the camp — fish ponds they tell us. The answer of course is “foxholes” and are we glad to see that activity? We are! I doubt that there is a 1 chance in 1000 that the Yanks will bomb this camp, but naturally the guards to not feel so assured. News from the outside is now totally lacking but we are anxiously listening to the overtones now and some signs are visible. In all the turbulent seas of the world, many typhoons are blowing. We alone seem to inhabit the only calm spot — we hope, seemingly vainly, that some gigantic storm is brewing near here.

Those who, under any conditions, should continuously strive to remain silent are most often the ones who do most of the talking. There are in infinite number of experts in an infinite variety of fields left in this camp. From observation it seems that man’s first reaction or impulse is selfish — it takes studied striving to do or be right, it is not the natural thing to do. Some people overcome themselves easily, others find it impossible. I cannot agree with the man who said “mankind is fundamentally good.” I gave up “impulse” long ago. I do not base my conclusions on the premise that man is good but rather that he is successful in his battle with himself, never forgetting that any moment he might be defeated.

A redig of guarante trois, octobre shows a change in moral trend. Feminine hygiene and syphilis openly discussed in print — would have been frowned on when I left in ’40. Everything is very matter of fact — not what I would have expected the general tone to have been. More today we hope.

Our farm produce is picking up again — every 2nd day now we get a good vegetable stew — the remainder of our diet is rice, corn and dried fish. We hope more corn will come into the commissary — present price P 6.00 for 1/5 of a gal. However, it gives mush and corn bread which fills our stomachs. Six months ago we planted a papaya tree; within the next month we will get produce therefrom. We get corn on the cob, dry it, grind it and then make our bread — for a while we grew it too! We buy tobacco leaves, stem them, cut them, and roll our own cigarettes on a homemade machine. We keep a yeast culture going and use it on our mush and in corn bread. We patch our own ragged clothes and wear wooden shoes to save the leather ones during rainy season. On one pair of my shorts there are eleven patches — less than 1/10 of the original surface remains visible. Needless to say I put them all on. Our table and stools are made of oddly assorted boards but manage to look neat nevertheless. For nails at times we have cut short lengths of wire and driven them in. Talk about getting along on & shoe string or “from riches to rags” — “we is it.” We are issued 10 skags per week, no toilet tissue for 6 months, no shaving equipment other than R.C. since I have been a prisoner, one tooth brush, one suit of 2nd hand dungarees, one suit of underwear and about 6 prs. of universal size socks (having no feels, they fit anybody) (?). We have had enough laundry soap but the prisoners in Davao had none for a year.

Every other day we get an “A” ration for being ldrs. and that helps some — for the last three days our noon ration has been about 1/2 a canteen cup of rice (cooked). We have received 7 R.C. pkgs. so far (i.e., 7 small ones or 1-3/4 large) – – we cannot believe that this small amount was all that America sent to us. We have had no amusement or recreational activities for more than 2 months. Food, of course, has prevented athletics. Much of this cannot be helped, of course, but they did accept the responsibility and I believe most of us will now make it through to the end. If we face the east we are the Light Brigade. Look up! Look up! Feeling a little on the optimistic side.