News: Seabees build cantina for Djibouti school
Story by Tech. Sgt. Lesley Waters
CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti — More than 300 students from Douda de Ecole primary school will no longer have to eat lunch outside under the hot African sun when school begins again, thanks to the Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 from Gulfport, Miss.
NMCB-11 Seabees, assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, have laid the 2,100-square foot foundation and vertical columns for a new dining facility for the primary school.
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, Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Legg, said the Seabees are not only providing new facilities for local children, but 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 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 even though it is hotter now, the heat hasn't slowed them down or scorched their attitude.
"Seabees is a group that holds great pride and tradition to heart," Dwyer said. "We still remember our forefathers and their accomplishments in the past 66 years throughout the several war campaigns and peacetime. We honor the sacrifices and acknowledge the hardships our brothers and sisters have endured. We know and understand getting the job done is our focus, regardless of the trials and tribulations before us."
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, Calif.
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."