U.S. volunteers renovate Djiboutian village soccer field

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jamone C. Taylor
  • 776th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron

U.S. military service members deployed to East Africa and local villagers commemorated the completion of an extensive soccer field renovation during a grand opening ceremony in the village of Chabelley, Dec. 30, 2019.

The project, a gift from U.S. volunteers to the villagers, turned the previous undeveloped field into a safe and fully functioning soccer field.

The construction project included leveling the ground, filling eroded areas and digging of a canal to divert flooding, protecting the field from further erosion. The volunteers also constructed goals, bleachers and benches along with 75 feet of fence behind both goals to catch stray balls.

Volunteers completed the five-month project carried out entirely with donated funds and volunteer labor.

Held at the newly renovated field, the ceremony was presided by host nation dignitaries including Sous-préfet du Damerjog Abadi-Chaid Youssef and Chabelley Village Elder Abdi Bahdon as well as the ambassador of the U.S. to Djibouti, Mr. Larry André.

Approximately 200 people attended the opening ceremony of the field.

During the ceremony, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Carlos Ortega, a volunteer, highlighted the history of the field and thanked the Ramstein Enlisted Spouse’s Club and Spirit of America for their sponsorship.

An inaugural game between the U.S. service members and Djiboutian villagers immediately followed the ceremony, and in the end, proved to unite players in the bond of friendship and laid the foundation for stronger relationships between the two cultures. Games are expected to be held regularly.