Bethulie Concentration Camp, August, 1901.
Wednesday, August 21.—Arrived station 8.30 a.m. (from Bloemfontein); tedious delay; no pass to village obtainable, official in village for breakfast; number of refugees in same train, among them a sick girl, with fever: "Pappie, Pappie, ach mij ou Pappie!" ("Daddy, daddy! O my dear daddy!" Thus she cried whenever she was touched, as they carried her out of the train, and lifted her on to the wagon. She was fever-stricken and terribly emaciated. (Reference is made later to this same girl.) Alas! Arrival village; visit parsonage (Becker's); dinner; things forwarded per wagon; arrival camp (mile out); meet superintendent; given a tent; dust; misery; the Van As's offer me a home; kind; bitter cold night; leakage; bad draught; bad cold; feel lonesome; orphanish; pipe to rescue; great consolation.
Thursday, August 22.—My tent untenable position; in the thoroughfare; speak Superintendent; obtain new site; private; buy 150 bricks 1s. 6d., hire three boys, barrow 1s. 3d.; with miershoop (antheap, excellent for making floor) make brick kraal; hard work; Mr. Van As and Fourie grand; fine floor.
First visits: Young girl, orphan, bad; Weinanda, little girl, "Ja Oom, ik is nou bij mij Mamie" ("Yes, Uncle, now I am with my mother"); mind wanders. Third tent: Two babies wrestling with death; mothers raadeloos (in despair); 486, wife, babe at breast, measles; daughter, 14, convalescent; behind screen three children sick, measles; condition pitiable; husband prisoner Ladismith; great dirt; unbearable; the pity of it!
Pitch tent; wet floor; inside dire confusion.
Visit Hugo's; dinner Van As; outspan (rest); cigar grand.
Unpack; three Red Cross boxes (gift of the chemist); order out of chaos; spirits revive; visits 2.5 p.m.
Dying child; mother broken-hearted.
Dying mother; clear doorway; deathbed grim attraction for our people; prayer; understands.
Widow; husband found dead outside in night; heart disease.
Sick child (since dead); sick child; sweet face; Louw.
Visit sick child of yesterday, also Weinanda.
Stray; hear cough; enter; father invalid (wife dead); three sick children; youngest very bad.
Comfort mother of dead child.
Funerals (seven), Mr. Becker: "I was dumb and opened not my mouth."
Burial ground; about 120 graves; weeping mothers; visit dying child; fool of myself, broke down in prayer; the helplessness in presence of Death!
Throat hoarse; dead off; return tent; meditate; convinced this work the very hardest in whole world.
Avoid taking guide next time (handicapped).
Neglected to visit 486 and mothers of yesterday's dying children.
Fourteen corpses (in morgue tents).
One man disappointed; had expected Oom Jacob.
Saturday, August 24.—Evening: Coughing; wailing; crying; groaning.
Exhausting day; pure, clear air after refreshing rain.
The misery in our Camp heart-rending; hopeless to cope with work.
Up early; coffee in hospital kitchen; work.
235a; six orphans; baby; dirt; sad!
241; mother died to-day suddenly.
239; boy 12, Ignatius; malignant growth shoulder; hopeless; pining away.
249; child; measles.
468; Venter; motherless infants; all sick; food scarce; despair; powerful grandmother (arms!); daughter; all measles; "Ziet, minheer, die dochter is nog'n lady: sij is nie getrouwd nie" ('This daughter, sir, is still a lady; she is not yet married'); Bengers; beef tea.
485; Van Heerde; mother and tentful of sick children; pitiable; camphor; brandy....