We carried on a road by a pipeline then went left and after some time set up camp. We set up an ambush in the afternoon. Some cars went past, including an army truck. I was with Pombo who signalled to Che that there were soldiers, but Che didn’t open fire. They had an argument about whether it would have been right to kill the soldiers in the truck. Che said that it was wrong to shoot the ‘little soldiers’ who might have been asleep in the truck. He reminded us that we are not there to kill men, but to change their way of life.
We kept walking along the creek, always ready to set up an ambush, but really looking for some good water not a fight. We walked for a long time then stopped at what was really just a muddy puddle to make coffee and eat oatmeal. The water took so long to heat that we decided to make camp here. The temperature dropped and a light rain set in all night. I hate that kind of rain. Better a downpour that soaks you then sun that dries you off than this kind of thing that gets right into your clothes and even your bones and you never feel warm or dry.
Today we left the trail and started cutting through the brush. It was still cold, drizzling rain so it was good to be working and trying to take your mind off it. But it was hard work. When the day was over we set up a fire. We had no clean water. We found no food. I tried not to think of all the pork we have eaten, instead I read more of Guerrilla Warfare and tried not to get the pages wet. I find that reading it helps remind me why I am here and why I am suffering.
Last night I dreamed that I ate the pages of Guerrilla Warfare and they were very tasty. But when I woke there was nothing to eat for breakfast and I was sent out with a group to clear a path. We found an abandoned farm that had cattle in it. It was all I could do to stop Benigno killing a cow immediately and instead suggest he report back first. So Pablo and I were sent back to report – I fully expected on our return to find a dead cow and Benigno with a huge belly!
When we got back to the farm he had shown discipline and the cows were all still alive – and kicking. I know that because one of them kicked out at me, which I thought was pretty poor of it since if it had not been for me it might be in my stomach right now! We left the farm and went on to the banks of the Rio Grande. Later on we captured a house – with food – and spent the night eating pork and locro. Reports from a scouting party suggest that we are only three kilometres from Puerto Camacho where there are around fifty soldiers stationed. I couldn’t worry about that when I was hungry – it will keep for another day.
We walked all day, passing a number of farms. We had a boy as a guide but he wasn’t very good because just after he said there were no more farms that way we came upon one. Then he said he has stomach pains – but I think he just wants to run away. We made camp at the farm – there was sugarcane, bananas and beans to eat. I told Pombo of my dream of eating the book and he said it might be a good idea because then we could all eat the books and we’d have less to carry but more importantly if I ingested the words I might get some more of a guerrilla spirit and stop moaning. I shut up then.
We had camped on a sand embankment last night and today we moved away from it because Che said it was too much work to have to protect ourselves on both fronts – the sandbank and the farm. Some men were sent out to try and cut a path across the cliffs but they came back later and said it wasn’t possible. So Che said we should build a raft. I hate that word. I was at the radio most of the day and the only real news was that the miners had threatened to strike. This would be good, but it turned out it was just words. And you can’t believe most of what the radio says anyway. They know we have radios and they try to give out misinformation all the time to scare us or put us on the wrong foot. I hate the radio. On top of all this bad news it is heavy to carry. I don’t see the point of it any more when we can find nothing out from it.
We walked until we came to what Che said is a good place (I don’t believe there is one) to make the raft. Then men made the raft. It doesn’t look good to me and I would rather swim. But I can’t swim well. I hate the river.