U.S. Soldiers, Sailors Participate in Clean-up Efforts in Garissa, Kenya
U.S. soldiers and sailors supporting Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa worked with Kenyan municipality leaders on July 11, 2008 to clean up Garissa, Kenya as part of a new garbage disposal program.
At a ceremony kicking off the event, Garissa Mayor Yousef Mohammed Kuno told residents and community leaders that this citywide campaign will make his city the cleanest in Kenya.
According to Army Staff Sergeant Kevin Countermine, most of the 100,000 people who live in Garissa are nomadic pastoralists whose livelihood depends on their animals. The refuse program will help to reduce the spread of disease among local animals and contribute to a stronger economy.
"If we can prevent the livestock from running through the trash," explained Countermine, "we can cut down on disease, so everyone will be healthy."
U.S. Seabees conducting water well operations in a nearby village assisted in the effort by building 28 trashcans and 10 dumpsters.
"The Seabees really helped us out," said Countermine. "They were amazing. We couldn't have done this without them."
Crew leader for Seabee civil affairs projects Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew White said that while construction of the containers was a small task for his crew, 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.