Ali Sabieh Library Opens after Renovations

ALI SABIEH, Djibouti - U.S. Army Specialist Adam Everly, a member of the 418th Civil Affairs team (left), helps a resident of Ali Sabieh to install lighting in the city library, July 7, 2010. The library project originated in 2006 and since has been renovated by Ali Sabieh's ALO-ASKA library association, the CA team and approximately 30 other local volunteers. The dedication ceremony took place August 1 and was also attended by other members of Combined Joint Task Force  †Horn of Africa as well as members of the U.S. Embassy to Djibouti.  (Courtesy photo) CJTF-HOA Photo ALI SABIEH, Djibouti - U.S. Army Specialist Adam Everly, a member of the 418th Civil Affairs team (left), helps a resident of Ali Sabieh to install lighting in the city library, July 7, 2010. The library project originated in 2006 and since has been renovated by Ali Sabieh's ALO-ASKA library association, the CA team and approximately 30 other local volunteers. The dedication ceremony took place August 1 and was also attended by other members of Combined Joint Task Force †Horn of Africa as well as members of the U.S. Embassy to Djibouti. (Courtesy photo)
ALI SABIEH, Djibouti - Residents rebuild the city library gate in Ali Sabieh, Djibouti, July 7, 2010. The library project originated in 2006 and since has been renovated by Ali Sabieh's ALO-ASKA library association, the U.S. Army 418th Civil Affairs team and approximately 30 other local volunteers. The dedication ceremony took place August 1 and was also attended by other members of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa as well as members of the U.S. Embassy to Djibouti.   (Courtesy photo) CJTF-HOA Photo ALI SABIEH, Djibouti - Residents rebuild the city library gate in Ali Sabieh, Djibouti, July 7, 2010. The library project originated in 2006 and since has been renovated by Ali Sabieh's ALO-ASKA library association, the U.S. Army 418th Civil Affairs team and approximately 30 other local volunteers. The dedication ceremony took place August 1 and was also attended by other members of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa as well as members of the U.S. Embassy to Djibouti. (Courtesy photo)
ALI SABIEH, Djibouti - Residents mix cement to help rebuild the city library gate in Ali Sabieh, Djibouti, July 7, 2010. The library project originated in 2006 and since has been renovated by Ali Sabieh's ALO-ASKA library association, the U.S. Army 418th Civil Affairs team and approximately 30 other local volunteers. The dedication ceremony took place Aug. and was also attended by other members of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa as well as members of the U.S. Embassy to Djibouti.   (Courtesy photo) CJTF-HOA Photo ALI SABIEH, Djibouti - Residents mix cement to help rebuild the city library gate in Ali Sabieh, Djibouti, July 7, 2010. The library project originated in 2006 and since has been renovated by Ali Sabieh's ALO-ASKA library association, the U.S. Army 418th Civil Affairs team and approximately 30 other local volunteers. The dedication ceremony took place Aug. and was also attended by other members of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa as well as members of the U.S. Embassy to Djibouti. (Courtesy photo)
ALI SABIEH, Djibouti (July 7, 2010) - U.S. Army Specialist Matthew Howell, a member of the 418th Civil Affairs team (left), installs barbed wire on top of the city library gate, July 7, 2010. The library project originated in 2006 and since has been renovated by Ali Sabieh's ALO-ASKA library association, the CA team and approximately 30 other local volunteers, for regular use. The dedication ceremony took place August 1 and was also attended by other members of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa as well as members of the U.S. Embassy to Djibouti.   (Courtesy photo) CJTF-HOA Photo ALI SABIEH, Djibouti (July 7, 2010) - U.S. Army Specialist Matthew Howell, a member of the 418th Civil Affairs team (left), installs barbed wire on top of the city library gate, July 7, 2010. The library project originated in 2006 and since has been renovated by Ali Sabieh's ALO-ASKA library association, the CA team and approximately 30 other local volunteers, for regular use. The dedication ceremony took place August 1 and was also attended by other members of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa as well as members of the U.S. Embassy to Djibouti. (Courtesy photo)
ALI SABIEH, Djibouti - Juniors of the ALO-ASKA or "friends of open books" Library Association perform a traditional dance to celebrate the completion of the library renovation attended by residents, the U.S. Embassy and members of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, in Ali Sabieh, August 1, 2010. The library was a project jointly built and funded by the community's ALO-ASKA Library Association, local volunteers and members of the U.S. Army 418-2 Civil Affairs Battalion, CJTF-HOA.  (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sergeant Amanda Boersma) CJTF-HOA Photo ALI SABIEH, Djibouti - Juniors of the ALO-ASKA or "friends of open books" Library Association perform a traditional dance to celebrate the completion of the library renovation attended by residents, the U.S. Embassy and members of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, in Ali Sabieh, August 1, 2010. The library was a project jointly built and funded by the community's ALO-ASKA Library Association, local volunteers and members of the U.S. Army 418-2 Civil Affairs Battalion, CJTF-HOA. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sergeant Amanda Boersma)
ALI SABIEH, Djibouti - U.S. Army Brigadier General James Owens, Combined Joint Task Force - HOA deputy commander (far left), Ahmed Wador, president of the Regional Council (second from left), Houmed Abbas, Prefect's 1st Assistant (center), Paul Pometto, U.S. Embassy Charge d'Affaires (second from right), Ahmed Had, President of the Ali Sabieh Regional Council (far right), cut the ribbon at the conclusion of the ceremony's grand opening of the renovated library in Ali Sabieh, Djibouti, August 1, 2010. Beginning with approximately 100 books, the library now holds more than 1,000 books for residents of Ali Sabieh. The library was a project jointly built and funded by the community's ALO-ASKA Library Association, local volunteers and members of the U.S. Army 418-2 Civil Affairs Battalion, CJTF-HOA.  (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sergeant Amanda Boersma) CJTF-HOA Photo ALI SABIEH, Djibouti - U.S. Army Brigadier General James Owens, Combined Joint Task Force - HOA deputy commander (far left), Ahmed Wador, president of the Regional Council (second from left), Houmed Abbas, Prefect's 1st Assistant (center), Paul Pometto, U.S. Embassy Charge d'Affaires (second from right), Ahmed Had, President of the Ali Sabieh Regional Council (far right), cut the ribbon at the conclusion of the ceremony's grand opening of the renovated library in Ali Sabieh, Djibouti, August 1, 2010. Beginning with approximately 100 books, the library now holds more than 1,000 books for residents of Ali Sabieh. The library was a project jointly built and funded by the community's ALO-ASKA Library Association, local volunteers and members of the U.S. Army 418-2 Civil Affairs Battalion, CJTF-HOA. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sergeant Amanda Boersma)

Residents of Ali Sabieh, members of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa and the U.S. Embassy came together to commemorate the completion of the Ali Sabieh Library renovation at its grand opening ceremony August 1, 2010. Community members celebrated by reading poetry, performing skits, playing music and dancing to drums.

The library was originally opened in 2006. In April 2010, ALO-ASKA or "friends of open books" Library Association initiated the renovation project to provide additional adult education for women and increase tutoring for school children in the area. The library was a project jointly built and funded by ALO-ASKA Library Association, local volunteers and members of the U.S. Army 418th Civil Affairs Battalion, CJTF-HOA. "We were only a small piece of the pie that contributed to the overall effort. Nearly all of the physical labor involved in renovating this project was conducted by the ALO-ASKA Library Association," said Civil Affairs Team Leader, U.S. Army Captain Lara Brown.

The community and Civil Affairs team joined together to repair the roof, build a security fence, and a wall, and install new windows and doors. Together they finished the renovations in less than 50 days. Before renovations began, the library held only 100 books. It now holds more than 2,000 books for residents of Ali Sabieh thanks to the donations made by the French Society, Belgium Society and U.S.

"I know that reading and writing is good for my education." said Idriss Moussi, a student in Ali Sabieh. "Before the renovated library I went to the library at my school, but when it was closed for summer break, I didn't have one. Now that it is renovated, I can come here."

The Ali Sabieh library is the city's first public library that is open year-round. "I will encourage my friends to come to this library and learn more," said Moussi, "Thank you to America for helping to build this library and donate English books."

The library ceremony included a ribbon cutting symbolizing the entrance of the newly renovated site. CJTF - HOA Deputy Commander U.S. Army Brigadier General James Owens, Prefect's 1 Assistant Houmed Abbas, U.S. Embassy Charge d'Affaires Paul Pometto, and President of the Ali Sabieh Regional Council Ahmed Had, cut the ribbon at the conclusion of the ceremony.

"We join ALO in applauding the Djiboutian government officials for their dedication to improving the education of their people. This library will improve the quality of educational resources for the people of Ali Sabieh, and we hope it will serve not only as a library, but also as a learning center, a place where Djiboutians can gather, learn from one another and exchange ideas," said Pometto, who spoke on behalf of the U.S. Embassy.

The population of Ali Sabieh is approximately 40,000 and is Djibouti's second largest city. Omar Ahmed, president of the ALO-ASKA Library Association, said it is a community interested in expanding their children's education to read and write English. "The number of people here today is a testimony to the future success of this library," said Ahmed. "Thank you to the U.S. Army Civil Affairs team for supporting this library, and thank you to the American people who donated the English books."

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