About the Author: Tom Weinz serves as the dedicated Foreign Service Officer for Pacific Partnership 2012.
Pacific Partnership 2012 (PP12)/USNS Mercy is currently anchored about 10 minutes off shore near the city of Calbayog, Samar Island, Republic of the Philippines. U.S. Ambassador Harry Thomas attended the opening ceremony on June 19, and noted in his speech that USNS Mercy first visited Calbayog on its maiden voyage 25 years ago. Pacific Partnership 2008 also stopped in Calbayog, so we are finding many old friends in the community. As always, the interaction with local communities and people is the highlight of the mission.
Pacific Partnership offers an experience of a lifetime, but the day-to-day work is hardly a pleasure cruise. To describe volunteer life, the U.S. Peace Corps often uses the phrase, “The toughest job you’ll ever love!” Many PP12 participants can relate to that motto. Living spaces are cramped, and include bunk beds and a sink, with…more »