Pacific Partnership Helps Build Futures in Timor-Leste
Story Number: NNS080722-12
Release Date: 7/22/2008 4:38:00 PM
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW/AW) Joshua Valcarcel, Pacific Partnership 200b Public Affairs
DILI, Timor-Leste (NNS) -- Australian Army engineers, Indian Army engineers, U.S. Navy Seabees from USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) and other volunteers began renovation of the Bario Pite elementary school in Dili, July 21, as part of a Pacific Partnership 2008 engineering civic action program (ENCAP).
This 13-day ENCAP is an effort to transform the entire school by installing new plumbing for running water, restoring the infrastructure of seven buildings, painting and refinishing the walls and window frames, pouring concrete for new sidewalks and cleaning up the landscape.
"Pacific Partnership shows the countries we're visiting that people really do care about them," said Australian Army Cpl. Glenn Fox, of the 1st Combat Engineer Regiment based in Darwin, currently attached to Mercy. "We're excited to get in, do the work and really make some people happy."
Bario Pite, like most Pacific Partnership mission sites, is a team endeavor. The Seabees, along with partner nations, embarked non-governmental organizations and volunteers from Mercy's various departments have worked 10 hours a day. The renovations will affect more than 500 children who attend the school, providing them with a clean, safe learning environment.
"Everyone's brought so much knowledge to the table, and different ways of doing things," said Steelworker 2nd Class Raquel Miranda, a San Diego native and a Seabee from Amphibious Construction Battalion 1. "And the fact that we're building a school should make everyone proud. What's better than to give children that don't have much, a chance for a better education?"
In addition to the diverse group of contributors already working the ENCAP, Australians from the International Stabilization Force, currently deployed to Timor-Leste, brought in some extra hands and earth moving heavy equipment to help speed up the process.
"It's not our first time working with Americans," said Kris Eyles, a sapper (private) with the Australian Army's 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment. "They're great lads, we're glad to help out."
Pacific Partnership is a humanitarian and civic assistance mission aimed at building international relationships with partner and host nations in Southeast Asia and Oceania. The U.S. Navy is working together with non-governmental organizations, joint services and other allies to coordinate medical, dental, and engineering assistance.
So far, Mercy's mission includes visits to the Republic of the Philippines and Vietnam and will make stops in Papua New Guinea, and the Federated States of Micronesia following the Timor-Leste.
"The best way to get an incredible experience on this deployment is to volunteer your service," added Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Brendan Moaratty, originally from Ellsworth, Maine and a Mercy ENCAP volunteer. "It's 'humanitarian' after all, something you can look back on in your Navy career and be proud of."
For more news from Pacific Partnership 2008, visit www.navy.mil/local/PP08/.
For more news from U.S. Pacific Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/subpac/.
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