Seabees supporting Pacific Partnership 2022 (PP22) are currently building a new multifunctional two-room classroom at the Buluma Primary School in Kimbe, Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Now in its 17th year, Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific.
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Charge’ D‘Affairs Joe Zadrozny said, Pacific Partnership 2022 brought the Seabees back to West New Britain 79 years later.
Pacific Partnership was a joint effort between the United States and Papua New Guinea, and included colleagues from Australia, and even Japan.
Former adversaries have now become strong allies. Pacific Partnership is a unifying mission that fosters enduring friendship and cooperation among many nations.
And the construction of Buluma Primary School is proof of that.
Now, instead of warships, we bring hospital ships. The US Navy vessel Mercy served as the operations platform for Pacific Partnership.
From Mercy, our Navy Seabees began construction of Buluma Primary School on August 26, and today, just a month later, the work is done. In peacetime, the Seebees continue to do what they do best – build.”
At the event, Engineering Aid Constructionman Matthew Evans said, “this school will give countless children the ability to be educated and grow. The building can also be used as a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief shelter if needed.”
Evans and his team of Navy engineers are assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4 in Port Hueneme, California.
They broke ground on the Buluma school project on Sept. 6.
While the Seabees are constructing a building they will leave behind for the local community’s use, the Navy personnel are taking something with them when the complete the project.
“I think the biggest take away for me from this experience is the importance of working together to provide aid. With that being said, we also learn a lot from the host nation considering there are many cultural differences.”
Learning more about the PNG culture and meeting new friends has been one of the added benefits of this Pacific Partnership project.
“The people of Buluma village in West New Britain have been very welcoming, and they love to show it. From bringing us snacks to helping us stay cool, this project is as much a testament to their work as it is ours,” Evans said.
PP22 events are coordinated with the host nation and are planned based on the requirements and requests of Papua New Guinea.