Helping children has always been high on the agenda for past Taylors Lakes resident Luis Darcy.
From teaching kids to swim at the local Brimbank swimming club to now helping build a kitchen with a dining area for the school children of the Comoro Intermediate school in Dili, East Timor.
Luis is a Sapper in the Australian Army and a member of 21 Construction Squadron, 6 Engineer Support Regiment based in Brisbane. He is currently part of the Australian contingent deployed to Timor-Leste as part of Exercise Pacific Partnership 14.
Pacific Partnership is an annual United States sponsored humanitarian and civic assistance exercise aimed at strengthening international relationships with partner and host nations in the Asia-Pacific.
Luis said that working with members from other defence forces on the same project has been very exciting and rewarding.
"It's been great working with other Defence Forces," he said.
"Everyone has been working so hard and we’ve managed to have everyone focus on achieving a good result on our building project.
"This is my first time working with US Navy Seabees and it has been a great experience. Everyone has their own way to go and get the job done. There has been some great stuff I was able to pick up."
After graduating from Copperfield College in 2004, Luis went on to complete his Electrical Engineering course at Melbourne's TAFE College, and then joined the Army as an electrical engineer.
"I always wanted to be an electrician and it was great doing my training with the army and getting paid well too. In my opinion there is no better way to do an apprenticeship," he said.
Spr Darcy said that overcoming the language barrier must have been challenging for the Timor-Leste Defence Force (F-FDTL) engineers who are part of the team.
"I was raised in Uruguay and came to Australia when I was 15. So I can understand how our mates from the F-FDTL must feel at times," he said.
"But we’ve all become really good mates. Even if we don’t understand everything that we say to each other, we all really appreciate having them around and they put in just as hard as we do."