Soldiers, Sailors, City Clean-up
Soldiers and Sailors deployed in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa helped municipality leaders here begin a new garbage disposal program July 11.
A ceremony marked a citywide campaign to clean-up Garissa with the help of donated garbage cans and dumpsters, which Mayor Yousef Mohammed Kuno said will make his city the cleanest in Kenya. Also in attendance were several community leaders and local television, radio and print media.
Army Staff Sergeant Kevin Countermine, Officer-in-Charge, Garissa's 402nd Civil Affairs Battalion, based out of Tonawana, N.Y., said most of the 100,000 people who live in Garissa are nomadic pastoralists whose livelihood depends on their animals.
"If we can prevent the livestock from running through the trash," he said, "we can cut down on disease, so everyone will be healthy."
402nd C.A. originally proposed building the dumpsters along with smaller garbage bins themselves. Countermine, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., asked Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74, based out of Gulfport, Miss., who are currently conducting water well operations in the near by village of San Kuri, to borrow some tools.
Instead, the detachment sent a workforce of utilitiesmen and steelworkers to complete 28 trashcans and 10 dumpsters.
"The Seabees really helped us out," said Countermine. "They were amazing. We couldnnt have done this without them."
Crew leader for Seabee civil affairs projects Utilitiesman 2nd Class Matthew White, a Salem, Ark., native, said helping build the containers was a small task for his construction crew, but he is confident the new program will make large strides toward improving the city. "It was definitely worthwhile to create something to contain some of the debris and help out with the disease," he said.
During the ceremony, town clerk Charles Ndambo thanked the civil affairs team for all the work they have done in the area and said he is happy with the friendship forged between the United States and Kenya. "I'm thanking them for their assistance in making Garissa a beautiful place," he said.
The mission of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa is to conduct unified action with local military forces and government representatives in the Horn of Africa to prevent conflict, promote regional stability, and protect the region from terrorist and extremist activities.
The service members of CJTF-HOA, headquartered in Djibouti, focus on military-to-military training, civil-military operations and senior leader outreach engagements. They aim to provide short-term assistance by supplying clean water, functional schools, better roadways and improved medical facilities.