There are no family photographs, only memories. Memories of a five-year old imprisoned by Japanese soldiers. Memories of love, courage and most of all hope. Hope that there was a God who would walk through the valley of death, known as WWII, with her. And He did.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

An Unsafe World

The train has stopped. Sister says to stay quiet and just follow everyone inside. She holds my hand and we walk very slowly behind hundreds of other children holding their mommies' hands. No fathers are here. I miss my Pappie very much.

"This is Twejeng," Sister says. "An old sugar factory."
"It looks like a big, cold monster with evil eyes," I whisper. "And there are no windows. How will we breathe?"

Sister just squeezes my hand. There is a wall of bamboo spears around the whole area. Are we in prison? I miss our home and garden. I just want to play and forget everything else. The soldiers have guns, their uniforms are dirty and there is a high tower where other soldiers can see the whole camp. Are we prisoners of this war?

There is some confusion amongst all the "prisoners." Everyone is whispering. Mammie is telling us to keep moving, don't ask questions and stay together. I look at the soldiers. They are not Japanese. They are . . . Indonesian. We are prisoners of our own people. I don't understand this at all.

Sister says to keep up with her. We walk inside the factory and Mammie finds a little spot on the cold, hard cement floor to lay our belongings. She makes a square by lining up our suitcases.

"This is home," she says. "It's not so bad. And remember . . . God is still with us."


Sharon Lynne said...

How frightening! Mammie had great strength and put on a positive attitude in front of her children. And great FAITH..."God is still with us." It's a good reminder for me today...that God is always near in every situation.

Janey Loree said...

We take so much for granted! Until wars and 9/11 happen. I thank God that we have HIM to carry us through the horrible times!!!

Your style of writing is conducive to your mom's experiences! Great job!!

jillbeth said...

How sad and confusing for a little child. I am always eager for the next installment of this tale. Such a wonderful testament to your mother's faith in God.

Robin said...

This sounds a lot like the history of my mother's family. She was also a small child (born August 1941) living in Surabaya during the Japanese occupation. Her father was a POW on the Burma Railway.

I will put a link to your blog on my Yahoo Group "Dutch Indonesian Heritage". You're welcome to join us!

Dirty Butter said...

I'm like Jillbeth. I always come, hoping to find a new installment. Your family's story is so important, but you're writing it in such an interesting way. School teachers love to use what's called authentic writing as a means of teaching history. I hope you turn this into a book someday for children to understand something of what war is like.

L.L. Barkat said...

I did not know you had this blog. Is this the true story of your mom? I wish I had time to read back through all the entries RIGHT NOW. Did a few, and I'll return.

Wow. You write this story with incredible poignancy, through simple details.

L.L. Barkat said...

Oh, sorry, I just read the sidebar. I see these are true stories. Well, then, I want to read them all the more.

Gina Conroy said...

What an awesome idea for a blog and what an amazing story I see unfolding! I'll have to come back when I have more time to really let her experience sink in!