Seabees Build Cantina for Djibouti School
More than 300 students from Douda de Ecole Primary School will benefit from a new dining facility built by Seabees with Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa in July 2009.
Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 from Gulfport, Mississippi recently laid a 2,100-square foot foundation and vertical columns for the dining facility, which will be completed in time for the new school year.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Lahey said before Seabees began building the cantina, the students ate their lunches wherever they could outside.
"We are providing a better and more sanitary area for the students to sit down and eat their meals, rather than eating them on the ground," Lahey said.
For most NMCB-11 Seabees, this is their first deployment. The Seabees' commander, Lieutenant Commander Stephen Legg, said these projects are also great on-the-job training experiences for the Seabees.
"I am very proud of our Seabees for the work that they have accomplished this deployment," Legg said. "I am mostly proud, however, of how they have grown as a team, and how they have grown in the relationships they have formed with the African people."
The Seabees started the project in March when it was much cooler, but Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffrey Dwyer, NMCB-11 project operations mission commander, said the heat hasn't slowed them down or scorched their attitude.
NCMB-11 will have poured more than 13,500 man-hours into the project before they finish their time in Djibouti and head back to Gulfport in about a month. They will turn the project, which will be about 50 percent complete, over to NMCB-3, from Port Hueneme, California.
NMCB-11 will have completed the site work, concrete footer and foundation, the concrete pad, concrete columns and half-wall concrete masonry unit block. NMCB 3 will complete the overhead tie beam, roof system, two CMU block rooms which will be the kitchen and store room, as well as installation of the doors and windows.
"Actions often speak louder than words," Legg said. "So, as we work side-by-side with the Africans through our military-to-military programs in Uganda and Comoros, or build new school facilities here in Djibouti, our efforts speak volumes to the fact the American people care, and we are here to help Africans find solutions to African problems."