East New Britain residents are engaging more than 250 ADF personnel in cultural exchanges during the week-long Pacific Partnership 2010 (PP10) mission.
“The exchanges and community service activities are an extension of the medical, dental and engineering work that ADF, United States and Papua New Guinea military and non-government personnel are engaged in,” said Commander Paul Scott, Commanding Officer HMAS Tobruk, the mission command platform.
As part of the activities, the ADF personnel have played sporting matches and enjoyed a jazz concert and some traditional dancing.
“Our sailors and soldiers are working side-by-side with local residents and the wider international team—a unique experience for many of them. The chance to learn about the local culture assists them to put their work into context,” Commander Scott said.
“The professional relationships that are forged here will assist the ADF to be better prepared in the event of a natural disaster in the region and an understanding of the culture can enhance our responses in a time of need,” he said.
Mr Peter Hoare, Student Body President at the Papua New Guinea University of Natural Resources and Environment, said locals are forging strong friendships and are enjoying engaging with the Australian and United States personnel.
“The students were really happy to have the Pacific Partnership team here for a soccer match,” Mr Hoare said.
“The Australians and Papua New Guineans played very well. The Americans, though, need a bit more coaching. All of the students enjoyed the experience,” he said.
The PP10 team are conducting engineering projects in the region and have treated approximately 2500 patients since the mission began on 3 September. This is the last leg of the six-country PP10 endeavour.
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