Dear Diary

We have yet again been on reconnaissance. We’ve done that a lot lately. Every time it has been longer trips for at least a week each, but we still haven’t come across a single American soldier. 

The trips are tough. We walk further every day than I would ever have thought possible for me and we sleep outside without any form of shelter. The food is always cold because we can’t light fires. It would be too easy for the enemy to spot the smoke.

The longest trip lasted for 11 days. But we never saw the enemy on that trip either. It doesn’t take long before it gets frustrating chasing anyone in these huge jungles where it is impossible to see more than a few meters ahead. The forest is wild in these parts and often it is almost impossible to move forward. When that happens we take turns using the machetes to chop our way through the shrubs and undergrowth. It all just makes the trips even rougher and more frustrating.

End of part 5 and beginning of part 6 of the diary
End of part 5 and beginning of part 6 of the diary

We never know if or when we will come across the enemy so we have to be quiet all the time. On those lang walks we hardly talk to each other. We just walk in silence with our hearts up in the throat and the sound of it beating in our ears. Maybe there’s only five minutes left before we all die fighting Uncle Sam’s troops. 

But the silence gets to me. When we are back here in our camp I am beginning to understand and talk to some of the natives. It’s obvious that they sometimes wonder at what I’m trying to say but I am getting the hang of a lot of the nouns, so at least I can say what I need. It’s still really hard when they are talking to each other. It’s too fast for me to understand. I guess I’ll get it eventually. 

That’s probably what annoys me most about our long reconnaissance trips. We’re all quiet all the time so I don’t learn any new words as long as we are walking. It’s only at night, when we lie down to sleep, that we whisper a little among ourselves. 

Phan tells me that the rainy season is coming. When it does, our trips are going to get even worse. I can’t imagine what it is going to be like. Is it going to rain all the time or is it just very often? Is it a heavy constant rain or is it different from day to day? There isn’t really anything else to do but to wait and see. 

Everytime we are away I catch myself hoping that we will meet the enemy soon. It’s not that I have some bizarre death wish or that I have any form of need to kill another human being ( I still don’t know how I’m going to react to actually having to kill someone). I think it’s just the excitement that gets to me. I don’t know how to deal with the mood in the group or my own feelings. 

burn mark on page
I think that’s a burn mark from a cigaret right there

Waiting and walking around in all this constant nervous excitement is just too much. I think my wish mostly stems from my own need for redemption. I need to feel the heat of real battle for this feeling to go away.

At least the trips give us something else to do. 

We are also getting a little more information now. We still don’t know anything about where the Americans are, or how much resistance they are meeting along the way. But at least we know that we are going on our next trip the day after tomorrow. It’s not much but we know what to expect after tonight and tomorrow. It’s better than living in oblivion like I think that we have done until now. 

Tomorrow I’ll find some kind of work that I can help out with even though there doesn’t seem to be that much to do around here. Maybe I can help the chef. I could teach him to make meatballs.

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