When I first heard the noises coming from outside, I honestly thought that it was an injured animal, perhaps a puppy or maybe even a kitten.
I went outside, grabbed my gear, and cautiously looked about me. I was scared that the enemy would be lurking somewhere, but I didn't see anything suspicious. When I went to go back in the barracks I was staying at, my foot bumped against something soft. I then looked down ... only, to my horror, to find a little girl lying on the ground. The child was naked and filthy, and she was waving her arms weakly.
I don't know where she came from: one minute, she was not there, and now she was, bigger than life, even though she couldn't have been more than two or three at the most. I noticed that her belly was distended and her limbs were stick thin; her hair was sparse, and her face had blotches around her nose and mouth, all marks of malnutrition. She was trying to cry; it was her crying, in fact, that I had heard just a few minutes earlier.
Compassion flooded my heart as I quickly picked up the fragile little bundle and carried her inside. Some of my comrades were not thrilled when they saw what I was carrying in my arms. "Jesus H. Christ!" one of them screamed at me, "Get rid of her!! She is the enemy! Kill her, injure her, bash her skull in: do something; she ain't worth anything! If she's here, the parents can't be far behind!!" Another one said that I was a fool for finding the kid; it'd be best that I get rid of her because she was a "gook" and deserved to die as much as the enemy soldiers who were causing so much misery in this godforsaken country called Vietnam.
It was then when I noticed that the child's legs were paralyzed. Maybe this was why whoever had her first got rid of her because she was handicapped. She wouldn't be any good to her family or any of her fellow countrymen (or women): she would be looked upon as a "throwaway child", an orphan. In her countrymen's eyes, she would be better off dead.
I held the little girl closer to my chest and whispered in her ear: "Have courage, little one. I will find a way to help you".
~End of part one.~