U.S. Seabees Complete Cafeteria for Djiboutian School

CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti - Djiboutian students of Douda Primary School participate in a dedication ceremony for a newly-build cafeteria provided by U.S. Navy Construction Battalions (Seabees) at Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, March 16, 2010. (Photo by Staff Sergeant Robert Barnett, CJTF-HOA) CJTF-HOA Photo CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti - Djiboutian students of Douda Primary School participate in a dedication ceremony for a newly-build cafeteria provided by U.S. Navy Construction Battalions (Seabees) at Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, March 16, 2010. (Photo by Staff Sergeant Robert Barnett, CJTF-HOA)
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti - Abdi Ibrahim Absieh, Djiboutian president of regional counsel, (left), U.S. Army Brigadier General James Owens, deputy commander for Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, (second from left), and James Swan, U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti (center), take turns cutting the ribbon during a dedication ceremony for Douda Primary School's newly-built cafeteria, March 16, 2010. The cafeteria was provided by the U.S. Navy Construction Battalions (Seabees) at Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. (Photo by Staff Sergeant Robert Barnett, CJTF-HOA) CJTF-HOA Photo CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti - Abdi Ibrahim Absieh, Djiboutian president of regional counsel, (left), U.S. Army Brigadier General James Owens, deputy commander for Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, (second from left), and James Swan, U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti (center), take turns cutting the ribbon during a dedication ceremony for Douda Primary School's newly-built cafeteria, March 16, 2010. The cafeteria was provided by the U.S. Navy Construction Battalions (Seabees) at Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. (Photo by Staff Sergeant Robert Barnett, CJTF-HOA)

Students of Djibouti's Douda Primary School showed their appreciation for a new cafeteria provided by U.S. Navy construction battalion Seabees during a ribbon-cutting ceremony, March 16, 2010.

At the start of the ceremony, nearly 300 students sang and performed several traditional dances to thank the American people for the addition.

"You can see the impact down here at the ground level and what it means to [them]," said Navy Lieutenant Cory MacCumbee, officer in charge for Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa's newest Seabee detachment, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 7, deployed from Gulfport, Mississippi. "We work humanitarian civic assistance projects closely with the U.S. Embassy, local Civil Affairs teams, and the local community to provide for these humanitarian type projects that include schools, water well drilling, sanitation, and quality of life projects."

Originally started by Seabees from NMCB 11, Seabees from NMCB 3 finished construction of the 10 meters by 20 meters building last month. The cafeteria, or cantina, provides an enclosed eating area with a roof for protection from inclement weather. Seabees with NMCB 7 are currently working on three similar school projects in the CJTF-HOA area of responsibility, said MacCumbee.

During the ceremony, Djiboutian President of Regional Council Abdi Ibrahim Absieh and U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti, Honorable James Swan both recognized the several organizations that contributed to the school.

"Let me also express my direct appreciation to our military colleges from CJTF-HOA, civil affairs, and the Seabees who are responsible for the construction," said Swan. "It is a terrific job as you can see by the response today."

Several U.S. government agencies collaborate on these types of projects to ensure they meet the specific needs of each local community.

"We have a very good relationship with the Djiboutian government," said Lieutenant Colonel Michael Hert, the 418th Civil Affairs Battalion civil military liaison officer to the U.S Embassy in Djibouti. "When you take a look at our mission with civil military operations, you know we're very long term, focusing on stability so when we have a opportunity to get involved in something such as education and school construction, naturally it's something you want to do."

Camp Lemonnier is a Navy expeditionary command in Djibouti, Africa and is host to Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa which supports East Africa development by building schools, clinics and hospitals and conducts dozens of medical civil action and veterinary civil affairs projects.

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