News Icon

News: Trash to treasure: Afghan workers use skills to enhance DFAC

Story by Staff Sgt. Terrance RhodesSmall RSS IconSubscriptions Icon

Trash to treasure: Afghan workers use skills to enhance DFAC Staff Sgt. Terrance Rhodes

Mujib Ulrahman puts the finishing touches on the latest artwork display Mar 27. Ulrahman, an Afghan dining facility worker, has created and built numerous art displays for Koele dining facilities since 2010.

By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Terrance D. Rhodes

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — Art comes in various forms. It can be drawn, written, musically produced, acted-out or shown in many other ways. Service members and civilians who eat at the Koele Dining Facility may see Afghan-made art displayed throughout the building.

Afghan workers use recycled Styrofoam material to beautify and enhance the Koele DFAC all year long. They construct holiday art displays along with everyday items that make the DFAC a more attractive place to dine.

The workers’ jobs range from serving food, dining room maintenance, kitchen detail and cooking, but they also take extra pride in the art displays.

“It makes them feel good to see their work around the facilities,” said Frederick Church, a native of Riverside, Calif., and the food service senior supervisor at Koele. “I gave them the basic idea, but the craftsmanship and attention to detail is what they take pride in.”

Mujib Ulrahman, a skill labor worker, is one of the main contributors to the art displays seen at Koele. Ulrahman holds a degree in journalism, but has loved decorating since his childhood days.

“I went to school to learn how to decorate flowers as a child,” Ulrahman said. “When Mr. Church asked me to do some decorations for the holidays last year, I was more than happy to do so.”

Shahagha, a skill labor worker, also works on the art displays at Koele. Shahagha enjoys drawing portraits of art in his spare time.

“It comes naturally for me,” said Shahagha. “I enjoy painting portraits of things I see around me.”

Some of Ulrahman’s and Shahagha’s favorite displays are the military service logos that are found in the Checo Room at Koele.

The room was dedicated to U.S. Army Sgt. Steven Checo in 2002, but Ulrahman and Shahagha redesigned the art displays for the room to bring more attention to the fallen soldier, said Church.

Building the art displays has raised morale in the working community and given the Afghan workers a chance to show their talents, Church added.

“The morale of the DFAC has increased because [the Afghans] feel like they are a part of something bigger,” said Church. “They feel like part of the solution and not the problem.”

It has also created strong bonds between the Afghans and American workers.

“I feel that we are not only co-workers but we are friends, and friendships last forever,” said Ulrahman.

Connected Media
ImagesTrash to treasure:...
Shahagha, a skill labor two worker, paints on an art...
ImagesTrash to treasure:...
Shahagha, an Afghan dining facility worker, prepares an...
ImagesTrash to treasure:...
Afghan workers at Koele dining facilities created the...
ImagesTrash to treasure:...
Mujib Ulrahman puts the finishing touches on the latest...

Web Views

Podcast Hits

Public Domain Mark
This work, Trash to treasure: Afghan workers use skills to enhance DFAC, by SSG Terrance Rhodes, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:03.27.2012

Date Posted:03.28.2012 02:45


Hometown:FORT HOOD, TX, US


More Like This

  • Local artists displayed their work as part of an art fair in the Contingency Operating Site Kalsu dining facility, June 2 and 3.
  • Marines are well known for their abilities on the battlefield, but not as often mentioned are the peaceful undertakings of these warriors at home. The Single Marine Program sought to change that by displaying the intricate artwork of Marines, their spouses and government employees in an art gallery.
  • A Dining Facility on Bagram Airfield now resembles an art gallery thanks to two contractors working for Fluor.
  • Yongsan Child Youth and School Services hosted an Art Exhibition at the Dragon Hill Lodge for the community members to view the artwork and enjoy a buffet, Feb 21.


  • Army
  • Marines
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Coast Guard
  • National Guard




  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Flickr