News: New Horizons ‘Operation Clean Tide’ washes piles of clothes
Story by Spc. Manda Walters
PARAMARIBO, Suriname – Airmen participating in the New Horizons humanitarian exercise recently initiated a new project and showed local children how a little creativity could make a mundane task more enjoyable.
Air Force Capt. Dan Forman, a chaplain with the 71st Flying Training Wing from Vance, Okla., said he encountered several piles of laundry at the Noskagita orphanage and day care center when conducting a facility assessment. To complete the assessment, he said the laundry needed to be taken care of.
“Initially, we thought about possibly bringing in new washers and dryers,” said Forman. “Then one night at about 3 a.m., I woke up and thought, ‘Swimming pools. We could do it with swimming pools.’”
Operation Clean Tide was born.
As part of the project, airmen helped minimize the seemingly insurmountable pile of laundry using four swimming pools, a 400 gallon water tank and lots of nontoxic disinfectant, vinegar and soap.
“We wash and rinse until the tank runs out,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Jennifer Flammang, a structural craftsman with the 820th Expeditionary "Red Horse" Squadron from Nevada. “We get the most done after school gets out. That’s when we get the most help from the kids.”
The children helped tackle the job by providing agitation for the washing pools by walking in circles inside the pools. They also helped wring clothes out by hand and hung them on the line behind the school with clothespins.
“It teaches the children a fun way to do their laundry,” Forman said. “A few children have come up to us and asked us if they could keep the pools because they want to do this. They are learning a fun way to get their laundry done.”
Bianca Amelo, a childcare provider at Noskagita, said she was both pleased and impressed with the project.
“We didn’t know this was a way we could wash clothes, and it doesn’t take a lot of energy or cost a lot of money,” Amelo said. “We are really happy about it.”