Home' Army News : July 19th 2012 Contents AAr
happ yy witthh
Army July 19, 2012
Maj Cameron Jamieson
SOME things in our communities
can be so commonplace that they
become wallpaper and fade into the
Transpose those objects into a
community where life is a constant
struggle and suddenly things take on
much greater significance. This situa-
tion has become a reality for a group
of Army engineers who have created
a playground for children in a remote
part of the Philippines.
In the rural village of Malaga,
located on the west coast of the island
of Samar, engineers from 21 Const
Sqn have put the finishing touches
on new and refurbished playground
equipment for Malaga Central
School, which covers infants and pri-
As part of the ADF's contingent
to Pacific Partnership 2012, the 12
engineers have been working along-
side US Navy Seabees (construction
engineers) to refurbish and build new
infrastructure at hospitals, medical
clinics and schools in Indonesia and
Before the engineers arrived at the
school the existing playground equip-
ment was dilapidated and mostly
ignored; a situation that wasn't help-
ing student attendance.
Now the students have working
swings, seesaws, monkey bars, a bas-
ketball net and a small soccer field.
They even have some shade cloth
over their repaired slippery-dip,
which means for the first time the
children can use the slide in the blis-
tering tropical sun.
School principle Elena Salinas
had appealed last year to the Pacific
Partnership advance team to have the
playground repaired because it would
encourage children to come to school.
"There is nothing else like this
around, so by encouraging them to
come to school they're learning more,
which is important for succeeding in
life," she said.
"It also encourages them to play
more and develop physically."
Elsewhere in the school the engi-
neers have replaced a roof that pre-
viously leaked water onto students
every time it rained.
"The work has been done and I'm
very grateful," Mrs Salinas said.
"Elementary schools such as ours
are central to a community.
"They encourage friendliness
among people, and by improving the
school we are improving the com-
For Spr Steven Bellman, a car-
penter and father of three, the chance
to help the school was especially
"The kids are chomping at the bit
to play with the new equipment," he
"The job is far removed from
building military fieldworks, but it
certainly has meaning.
"To see the kids happy to have
something in working order is fulfill-
ing for me."
Maj Cameron Jamieson
THE first ADF medical contingent has
rotated home from Pacific Partnership
2012, handing over to new doctors and
nurses for the second half of the humani-
Twenty-four ADF personnel, mostly
medical specialists, have returned to
Australia and a second contingent
of medical personnel has joined the
remaining 17 Australians on the US
Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy.
Pacific Partnership mission com-
mander US Navy Capt Jim Morgan said
Australia had been a great partner since
the mission's inception in 2006.
"The Australians bring one of the
largest partner nation contingents and
they are with us throughout the mission
each year," he said.
"They don't only provide us with
continuity of the mission, they also
bring their experience, leadership and
"Our ability to work together for so
long also makes things so much easier
because we're not new to the planning
process or working together, and we're
certainly not new to the mission execu-
Personnel on Pacific Partnership
2012 have completed two weeks in
Indonesia's North Sulawesi province and
two weeks in Samar in the Philippines,
and are headed to Vinh in Vietnam, and
Sihanoukville in Cambodia for the sec-
ond half of the mission.
Making a game of it
Engineers fix up a playground that will give kids a future in the Phili i
Freshen up: Australian Spr Jordan Fairholm (left) paints the basketball
backboard with US Navy Seabee Abraham Alba at the Malaga Central
School in the Philippines.
Photo by Flt-Sgt Craig Sharp
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