CHABELLEY VILLAGE, Djibouti --
U.S. Airmen and Soldiers deployed to East Africa, invested time building a swing set and relationships during a visit with their neighbors at the village of Chabelley recently.
During the visit, Airmen with the 776th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron civil engineer team, constructed a swing set for a village school using materials left over from other projects.
The idea for the project was birthed during previous travels between villages the civil engineers made while working in the area.
“Travelling back and forth we noticed a lot of kids on the streets didn’t have much,” said Tech. Sgt. Dimas Rojas, with the 776th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron. “We thought the least we could do is use our skills to give back to the community.”
Rojas and a fellow Airman, Staff Sgt. Jonathan Garcia, saw a need and took the initiative to fill it. They put their Air Force construction training to use, created the design, and developed plans to construct the swing set in the village.
“It was a good feeling to see the swing set being used by the children,” said Rojas.
While accompanying the civil engineers at the village, a team of Airmen from the 776th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron and Soldiers from Task Force Red Dragon, met with villagers, donated clothes and toys, and gave sweets to the children. They even made time to enjoy Africa’s favorite sport, football, with some of the younger residents of the village.
Tech. Sgt. Marissa Acosta, the 776th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron command executive, beamed as she helped two young girls with new dresses.
“These babies are not as fortunate as we are so anything we can do to give back and interact with our host nation is a beautiful thing,” said Acosta. “Two of the girls received cute little dresses, they looked like princesses and were so happy.”
The U.S. has a history of defense relationships in Africa based on shared values. Visits like this reinforce the foundation of trust that our partnership is built on.