Kenya, US Build, Dedicate School

MKOKONI, Kenya (Sept. 21, 2011) - Students of the Mkokoni Primary School wave handmade American  flags and sing during the Mkokoni Primary School Dedication in Mkokoni, Kenya, September 21. In a partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Education, one new school building and three renovated buildings were constructed to create educational opportunities for the children and the local community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Stephen Linch) CJTF-HOA Photo MKOKONI, Kenya (Sept. 21, 2011) - Students of the Mkokoni Primary School wave handmade American flags and sing during the Mkokoni Primary School Dedication in Mkokoni, Kenya, September 21. In a partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Education, one new school building and three renovated buildings were constructed to create educational opportunities for the children and the local community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Stephen Linch)
MKOKONI, Kenya (Sept. 21, 2011) - A student of the Mkokoni Primary School dances with U.S. Navy Lieutenant Isaac Hartsell, Maritime Civil Affairs Team 203 officer-in-charge, during the Mkokoni Primary School Dedication in Mkokoni, Kenya, September 21. The school's students celebrated the dedication by singing and dancing near their new and renovated school facilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Stephen Linch) CJTF-HOA Photo MKOKONI, Kenya (Sept. 21, 2011) - A student of the Mkokoni Primary School dances with U.S. Navy Lieutenant Isaac Hartsell, Maritime Civil Affairs Team 203 officer-in-charge, during the Mkokoni Primary School Dedication in Mkokoni, Kenya, September 21. The school's students celebrated the dedication by singing and dancing near their new and renovated school facilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Stephen Linch)
MKOKONI, Kenya (Sept. 21, 2011) - A student of the Mkokoni Primary School raises the Kenyan flag at the beginning of the Mkokoni Primary School Dedication in Mkokoni, Kenya, September 21. In a partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Education, one new school building and three renovated buildings were constructed to create educational opportunities for the children and the local community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Stephen Linch) CJTF-HOA Photo MKOKONI, Kenya (Sept. 21, 2011) - A student of the Mkokoni Primary School raises the Kenyan flag at the beginning of the Mkokoni Primary School Dedication in Mkokoni, Kenya, September 21. In a partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Education, one new school building and three renovated buildings were constructed to create educational opportunities for the children and the local community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Stephen Linch)
MKOKONI, Kenya (Sept. 21, 2011) - Students of the Mkokoni Primary School carry desks into one of the newly renovated school buildings after the Mkokoni Primary School Dedication ceremony in Mkokoni, Kenya, September 21. One new school building was constructed, and three others were renovated as part of collaboration between Kenya and the U.S. to promote educational opportunities for children in the area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Stephen Linch) CJTF-HOA Photo MKOKONI, Kenya (Sept. 21, 2011) - Students of the Mkokoni Primary School carry desks into one of the newly renovated school buildings after the Mkokoni Primary School Dedication ceremony in Mkokoni, Kenya, September 21. One new school building was constructed, and three others were renovated as part of collaboration between Kenya and the U.S. to promote educational opportunities for children in the area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Stephen Linch)
MKOKONI, Kenya (Sept. 21, 2011) - A Mkokoni Primary School sign indicates English as the language of use on the school grounds, while students carry desks inside the newly dedicated school, September 21, in Mkokoni, Kenya. That same day, a dedication ceremony marked the building "ready to educate" local children, ages 5 to 14 years old.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Stephen Linch) CJTF-HOA Photo MKOKONI, Kenya (Sept. 21, 2011) - A Mkokoni Primary School sign indicates English as the language of use on the school grounds, while students carry desks inside the newly dedicated school, September 21, in Mkokoni, Kenya. That same day, a dedication ceremony marked the building "ready to educate" local children, ages 5 to 14 years old. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Stephen Linch)

A year of anticipation gave way to children dancing and singing during the Mkokoni Primary School dedication at Mkokoni, Kenya, September 21.

"Our children will now be afforded a better education," said Charles Mzee Joseph, Mkokoni Primary School head teacher.

The dedication of one new school building and three renovated buildings was attended by students and community members, as well as members of the Kenyan Ministry of Education, the U.S. Embassy and the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa.

According to Joseph, the addition and renovations are being provided to an extremely dedicated group of teachers and students.

"The Mkokoni Primary School is the number-one ranked school in the (Lamu East) district," said Joseph. "We will teach day and night with our new facilities."

The new and renovated school buildings were built during the course of the past year in partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Education.

"This project is one example of Kenya and America working together for the greater good," said U.S. Navy Commander Elisabeth Jones, CJTF - HOA staff judge advocate and representative during the dedication. "This isn't about buildings. It's about education - education which will not only provide a brighter future for the children, but will also promote stability for the region."

Jones reflected on the spirit of cooperation that took place between the nations to highlight the future potential for Kenya when she addressed the children in the audience.

"You represent the hopes and dreams of your community and country," she said. "Take pride in your goals; they are within your reach."

"I hope that (the new school) will inspire people of all ages to learn and to grow - and maybe even become teachers," she added.

John Muthama Kilonzo, the Lamu East District education officer, echoed her sentiment by saying the school not only means a lot to the children, but also to the entire community.

"We are humbled at what the U.S. government is doing for our people," he said. "It will not go to waste."

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