School Dedication in Kiunga
U.S. Navy Maritime Civil Affairs Team 205, currently assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, joined hands with the local Kenyan host nation government, the head teachers of Kiunga Primary School and Secondary School, and local parents and students of Kiunga in the dedication of the schools, October 15, 2010. The dedication ceremony was a formal handing over of the newly-constructed and renovated schools to the village of Kiunga, Kenya. The projects included the following: For the Secondary School there was the construction of an administration building, laboratory, two dormitories and two four-room classroom block buildings. Renovation on the Primary School included three classroom buildings, new construction of a male/female drypit latrine, new construction of a perimeter fence, replaced roofing and the installation of a water catchment system.
Kiunga is a village with 800 local residents and is situated about five kilometers south of the Somalia border. The Kiunga Secondary School is the only secondary school in this remote region of Kenya. The village residents, parents and students from Kiunga Primary and Secondary are dedicated to making the schools educational centers of excellence.
Several parents, teachers and students attended the dedication. It was a true show of appreciation given back to the United States for helping with their schools' construction and renovation. Kiunga Primary and Secondary School students showed their appreciation by performing cultural dances, songs and poems.
"I'd like to thank you and your [MCAT 205] team for all you've done for our schools," said Mustafa Ardi, the Kiunga Primary School head teacher. "We pray that God will bless the Americans because only He can repay you for what you have done for our children."
The successful dedication of the schools in Kiunga is a testament of the willingness of the local people to work through tremendous adversities to obtain a common goal. MCAT 205 team members recognized these challenges early in the planning process and worked by, through, and with the Kenyans to build a solid partnership and stronger relationships.
"There is not a weapon that is powerful enough to sink the ship called friendship," said U.S Navy Lieutenant Perry Choi, MCAT 205 officer in charge. "Kenya and the United States share a strong bond of friendship. This school marks that friendship and marks the start for preparing the students to become future leaders for Kiunga, the district, Kenya and East Africa."
This project enhanced the relationship with the local government, school staff and residents of Kiunga and CJTF-HOA. By doing this project, CJTF-HOA has shown that it has taken a personal interest in the education and community development of Kiunga.