Cheryl Pearce - Painting a picture and pride in service

Running time
1 min 59 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


It's not a given that everyone can speak in English. And we have a lot of cultural norms in Australia. And it's the little incidental pieces, like I talked about in Cyprus about language. Only six were speaking English. And one morning I was really trying to, I'm a visual person, visualise what had occurred between incursions with the Turkish forces and the Greek National Guard overnight.

And I had my Turkish forces LO, who was Slovakian try and to explain to me, and I couldn't get it. And I said, "Hey, could you just paint me a picture, and come back to me outside so I can get a better understanding?" And I left it at that and came away. And I was in my office and I heard him come up in very, very frustrated, and emotionally to my MA, and he went, "I do not paint. I don't know how to paint. What does she want me to paint? What does she want me to say?" And that was just a small snippet of all the language issues you're trying to work together, and cultural differences.

But really, when you put it all together, everybody is trying to achieve the same outcome. It might not be a perfect solution. It might only be 70, 80%, but everyone was trying their best, and everyone was giving it a shot. And I couldn't have been more proud of this, really, collection of nations who came together with a single purpose, a single drive and passion to achieve and help the community of Cyprus to achieve a better outcome.

So, yeah, that would be probably my final points on that. And just, how proud I was as the force commander to lead them, but to be part of them, and to serve under the UN flag.

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