Joint Service Members Repair Djibouti School

U.S. service members with the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) made repairs at a local school near Djibouti on May 31, 2008, to improve conditions for teachers and students and allow a greater number of children to receive an education.

With an assortment of materials and construction skills, U.S. Seabees and soldiers completed a number of small projects and donated educational materials to Balbala primary school. The team replaced light fixtures, hinges and hasps on shutters, fixed doorframes and repaired a water pump and cistern.

"I enjoy coming out and working on projects like this. I like to get out and help the community," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Kevin Bragwell. "Plus, every time we come out here, there's something different to do."

"It's a good thing," said Bragwell. "We get good reactions, especially from the children. They are excited to see us."

Housssin Abdi Ali, a fourth grade teacher at Balbalas, agrees. He said the soldiers and Seabees having a presence at the school helps build the relationship between Djibouti and the United States.

Ali also said he hopes the improvements can help the school accommodate more than 2,000 students it already teaches.

"If you are not educated, you are blind. That's why this is so important," he said.

The project is expected to be completed in June.

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