AN OASIS FOR THE BOYS." (Colonist, 16 September 1916)

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an oasis for the boys work among soldiers in egypt the volunteer sistehood efforts miss ettie rout of christdiurch organiser of the volunteer sisterhood in a letter to miss greenwood of nelson written from the tell-kebir soldiers club in egypt sayswo are getting on splendidly here we have five large marquees up now and have surrounded the only group of decent trees in the place it is an oasis for the boys in every way they throng the place now we liiave had some new zealanders helping us as a fatigue party but most of them have returned to new zealandall but three we have a grand party of australians who have quite got into the swing of the work they iare very capable and cheerful and helpful the cooking has been the trouble i have had to do that myself for several weeks and the weather has been distinctly hot i have stood over huge field boilers making gallons and gallons of blanc mange all the boys are very keen on that they simply devour anything that is made on sunday they excelled themselves they ate nine barrelsful of fruit salad beer barrels two boilersful of blancmange and one boilerful of custard in tho afternoon that meant they had devoured i the night provisions so at 5 oclock i made a huge boilerful of sago oustard 50 eggs and a bucketful of sago 41b of sugar half a cup of vanilla and water certainly it was very nice but they went straight through that in 25 minutes it was like watching a sre through tussocks we have some fine cooks to hek us now and-it is an immense relief to me personally-for las long as it lasts but you never know when the men will go further afield some of the soldiers who have come to help are groat i had 200 eggs broken into a bath ready to beat up and one strolled into the kitchen and looked at them shall i whbek em with that wire affair he asked pointing to the egg-beater i said yes and he did ic another time i was washing a few pounds of raisins at the tap in a shallow basin eund a big west australian stood watching the process while i was in doubt as to his being an axeman or a miner he settled the question by asking shall i pan that out for you he did it very well too another lad came along to the office yesterday the office is lai mat hut of course and asked me to wrote a notetto his oc saying he was helping with the cocoa-makiug you need another helper here he said i have been doing the work voluntarily for two nights as assistant 1 1 would be much obliged if you would j give me the note because i just missed ithe last job here he added what he getting out of it nothing at all lof coursejust dirt and sweat and ihard ivork making cocoa for the other chaps goodness me they are keen on helping us every way they know how they simply love coming here j thanked one party the other day as they left after clearing up rubbish etc all over the grounds but their corporal said oh dont thialnk us the blokes thought it was christmas heaven knows tliev needour help badly enough poor lads i dont think there is anything too good for these men some of them are the finest men on earth this at least i know that though 1 never dreamed six months ago i was coming half-way round the world to be a canteen cook in this place of all ethers in the summer-time no work could possibly be more important at the present time for it does most certainly help to keep well men well and help to buck up those who are seedy as for the heat it no worse than lots cf other places and i dont feel it nearly so much as many other folk


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