Soldier raises money for village school
Staff Sgt. Lisa M. Simpson
First published in
SFOR Informer#138, May 9, 2002
The town of Olovo is on the border between MND-SE and
MND-N. In fact, when you travel the SFOR route between Sarajevo
and Tuzla you will drive through it. If you make the turn
into the town and follow the windy path, you will come to
the little village Ocevlja.
Ocevlja - Due to the village's location between Canton Sarajevo
and Canton Tuzla, the village, which was home to Bosniacs,
Bosnian-Croats and Bosnian-Serb before the war, was often
overlooked for humanitarian aid. The village schools are in
disrepair, the teachers do not have adequate supplies and
the children need a healthy environment to learn.
Pencils and pens
HQ SFOR CIMIC team members Capt. Steven Chung and "Z,"
Zoran Cvetkovic, a translator, in conjunction with Sgt. Hudson
Berry, Sgt. First Class Able Arabello and Chaplain (Maj.)
John Hamilton, joined Lt. Col. Bill Johnson to donate money
and supplies to the schools. Lt. John Ringquist donated several
boxes of clothing for the school children.
Johnson, who spearheaded the effort, managed to collect 7,000
KM that was divided between two of the village schools.
The children carried into the school boxes filled with school
supplies such as pens, pencils, crayons, art supplies, templates,
compasses, and notebooks. Across the street, Hamilton and
Berry passed out candy to the children who swarmed around
them like bees on a flower. Some of the students played a
spontaneous game of football with the SFOR soldiers, while,
inside an adjacent building, the children played volleyball.
Of most dire need to the schools and the village is the repair
of the water system. The main water distribution box is located
just to the left of the school. The uncovered, in-ground cement
square houses the four-inch supply line which has feeder pipes
that send water to the neighbouring villages in Olovo.
"The box does not have an anti-backflush valve,"
said Johnson. "When the water pressure in the main line
drops, the water in the lines going to the houses seeps back
into the main line, possibly contaminating it.
Traces of Hepatitis have been detected in the water.
Another problem is that if any of the other lines break, the
water pressure to everyone drops to almost zero immediately.
This could be critical if it failed while the village was
fighting a fire, for example."
The donated money will be used to fix the pipes. Upon receipt
of the money, the school's district leader, Avdo Hasansbahic,
presented Johnson with a memorandum of agreement, stating
that the money received would be used for the water system.
The principal thanked Johnson and his team profusely.
"What I am doing for these people, I did on my own,"
Johnson said. "All of the co-ordinations were done in
my off time and the money raised came from my own pocket and
the donations of others. But none of this would have been
possible without the help of Lt. Ringquist, Chaplain Hamilton
and his assistant, Steven Chung and Zoran Cvetkovic who is
so much more than just a 'translator'. I could not have done
this without them."
Nations of SFOR: US