Struggling for our Sanity
|2 April 93
As the murder investigation gets into full swing,
more and more people are being implicated. Our platoon is guarding
the 2 Commando prisoners, more and more people are showing up each
day. 2 Commando's OC and CSM have been relieved of duty and sent
back to Canada, effectively ending their careers. Two Sergeants and
I thing one Master Corporal are in jail along with several troops.
Someone took pictures of the torture, which have been turned over to
the investigators. They also have the pipe that Matchee used in the
beating. Matchee is apparently a vegetable now though, so he will
not be held responsible for what he did. This has broken in the news
back home and the politicians are out for blood. It is even worse
with an election on the horizon.
There is no sympathy for any of the people in 2 Commando who did
this. Usually everyone pulls together and supports each other, but
this time they have gone too far. Everyone can see that this could
mean the end of the regiment, we already have too many enemies.
We have been on garrison duty since the convoy escort. We are
spread pretty thin with our troops tasked out to escort another food
convoy, others doing a machine gun course, working in Service Commando's
kitchen, guarding the 2 Commando prisoners, covering off the bunkers for
guard duty, working the canteen and doing CQ duty.
A little girl walks by in a glittering blue party dress. It is so
incongruous with her frail skeletal limbs and shaved head. Her smile
is bright and alive. She carries a pail made from an old tin can in
which she receives her ration of food at the feeding center.
There is a storm brewing on the horizon. The clouds are dark and
ominous. A dust storm blocks out the southern horizon. The
rain comes and goes mixed with hot, humid sun. The rainy season is
I guarded the prisoners ot C/S 0 this evening, two Sergeants and two
troopers. The story was on the fourth page of today's paper with
their names. They are looking at the beginning of the end.
4 April 93
The worst part is that I wonder what I have given up. I have left a great deal behind
in order to help others. But do I do it for others or do I do it for myself? I am missing
so much in life, but I am also gaining so much. It is an experience like no other.
I walk around drunk with a loaded pistol to my head. The cold, steel, pressure against
my temple feels good. I hold a pistol to a child's head in a macabre game, "eeny,
meany, miney, moe . . ." His friends laugh at the joke of it, but scatter when I
point it at them.
Today 31C ran a truck off the road by mistake, killing three. An orphaned child clings to his
mother's breast crying. Her head is exploded on the pavement. Death and blood is
A sandstorm came from the south this evening. A dark, mile high wall approached and
engulfed us. It was eery as the cold wind came up and the sun disappeared. I sat under the
porch of my tent watching the magnificence of the world unleash in front of me. Sand and
wind and rain swirling as one.
It is night now. I am surrounded by darkness. I want to go out hunting, but know I
shouldn't . . .
5 April 93
Its a full moon. I look up to see a green, glowing creature go streaking by, followed
soon after by another. The pair begin to dance about, arms flailing, screaming and wailing
like banshees. Long hours of boredom have finally taken their toll on the already frail
sanity of Daren and Adam. They'd broken open a couple of glow sticks, painted their bodies
and went tearing off into the night. They had planned on frightening the refugee kids, but
only got fits of hysterical laughter for their efforts.
We are over three months into the tour and pulling through on strange and warped senses
of humour. Our patience and compassion is constantly strained and tested as the situation
continues to demand more than we are capable of giving.
10 April 93
Tonight I sat watching the fiery beauty of the African sunset. The intensity of colour
is like nothing ever experienced in Canada. An expatriate I met in Nairobi said, "you
come to Africa expecting to change things, but soon find that it is Africa that has
changed you." The culture and climate of Africa have such a profound effect on you.
It changes the way you view the world and yourself.
The suffering we experience in our lives becomes so small when it is contrasted with
the immensity of suffering here. What I see is often painful, but it is a tremendous
chance for growth and experience. I have learned far more about myself and what is
important to me in these few months here, than I could have in a lifetime in Canada.
No matter how much pain and despair I am exposed to here, it is nothing compared to the
satisfaction that comes from helping others. The fact that children's laughter has
replaced the sound of gunfire in the streets is enough.