By Sgt. 1st Class Raymond DrumstaJune 17, 2013
BOGOR, Indonesia -- A seemingly small Indonesian and U.S. Army community-relations project is expected to give a boost to an Indonesian school's massive and continuing aid to their own communities.
The U.S. Embassy's donation of medical books here on June 17 will help their students give better care to Indonesians living in over 60 villages around Bogor, according to School of Industrial Technology and Pharmacy officials.
The donation was done in conjunction with Garuda Shield 13, the latest in a continuing series of exercises designed to strengthen military-to-military cooperation while focusing on international peace support operations.
Indonesian Army troops and U.S. Army civil affairs Solders Sgt. 1st Class Arturo Balsa and Capt. Matthew Finnie planned and coordinated the donation. Balsa and Finnie are assigned to the 97th Civil Affairs Battalion, based at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Though this is the first community-relations project he and Finnie participated in together, they regularly support such events with their Indonesian Army counterparts, Balsa said.
They donated about 300 of the books, titled "When There is No Doctor," according to Balsa. Designed for people without direct access to doctors or medical facilities, the book is full of medical information, from home remedies to healthy hygiene and diet, he explained.
The book appears to be a good fit for one of the school's own ongoing community-relations project -- treating, educating and counseling villagers.
The school has over 500 students -- including two Indonesian Army Soldiers -- who visit the villages twice a year, according to Dr. Padmono Citroreksoko, the school director, and Dr. Mulyaman Soepardi, the school's founder and funder.
About a million people live in the villages, and the books will help the students identify what prescriptions to write for them, Citroreksoko said. They lack some medicines, but the students will remedy that problem by using the books to educate the villagers about home remedies and other medical information, he added.
The students are very enthusiastic about learning and knowledge, and he believes they'll be enthusiastic about the books as well, Citroreksoko said.
"They will be very happy," he said. "It will be very good for the community as well, and the villagers."
Two dozen or so students applauded the donation during a small ceremony at the school. Citroreksoko, Soepardi, Balsa and Finnie spoke at the ceremony.
He's grateful for the donation and hopes their relationship with the Soldiers will continue, Soepardi said.
He was pleased at how well the books were received, Balsa said.
"That really pumped me up," he said. "It really felt good."