A Glimpse of Evelina

On 24 June, 1945 Barbara Anslow wrote in her diary:

 In evening went walking to kaolin pit by Bungalow D, had drink of water from Lena….[1]

 Barbara knew Evelina as a fellow Catholic. Both women were involved in Catholic Action, a study and welfare group. In Evelina’s case that was the only formalised thing she did, as she had no job in Camp. Water was rationed in Camp. The supply from the mainland had ceased in November 1944 and, after a worrying period in which Gimson suggested moving to a new location to the Japanese, water was struck at 16 feet – for a time there had been only one small well to meet the needs of the 2,500 or so internees. From that time, the camp was basically dependent on these local sources of supply, although occasionally the supply of piped water resumed – Barbara Anslow records this happening on January 29, 1945, the same day that she noted Evelina’s admission to hospital.[2]

 That Kaolin pit wasn’t just a geographical feature:

(L)uckily one of the prisoners discovered a small kaolin  mine within the grounds. Kaolin is a type of clay that is used for the treatment of dysentery. It is white in colour and fine in consistency, almost like a powder. The clay’s active ingredient is kaopectate, which is prescribed for diarrhoea and amoebic dysentery. Thanks to the kaolin, the disease was controlled. The doctors in the camp also used it to treat a variety of stomach ailments.[3]

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