Horn of Africa servicemembers bring donations to Djiboutians
November 24, 2009
DJIBOUTI, Djibouti - A contingent of the U.S. Army's 4/78th Battalion, Delta Company Civil Affairs and volunteers from Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, visited a small village called Camel Douda in Djibouti to provide clothes, soccer balls, and a movie to local residents, November 12, 2009.
Upon arrival, the team, led by U.S. Army Sgt. Lldemaro Montejo, was welcomed by Chief Mussa of the small Djiboutian village. It was not the first time that Camp Lemonnier service members visited Camel Douda with its estimated population of 40 Djiboutians. Without electricity and with little resources, it is apparent the village residents appreciate the visits, especially the younger ones.
On this visit, kids intermingled with camp volunteers to play soccer and football. The elders and mothers assisted the youngest to get fitted for clothes. As evening approached, people scurried to find empty crates or other make-shift stools to watch a French-dialect, American-made action movie on a sheet stretched over a fence. According to Montejo, movie night is popular and a long-time favorite.
"Movie Night got started in Djibouti about two years ago by the U.S. Marines," said Montejo. "In a way, it helped break the ice between U.S. Forces and the local populace. It is so successful, it was continued by 4/89th Battalion and now the 4/78th Battalion."
Civil Affairs Sgt. Dimitri Emilien said Camel Douda is one of 10 villages surrounding Camp Lemonnier. The civil affairs team, which distributes donations of school supplies and clothes, analyzes which villages have the greatest needs.
"Movie Night is performed once a week in the villages that surround Camp Lemonnier that currently do not have electricity," said Montejo.
Delta Company Civil Affairs is responsible for civil affair missions in the city of Djibouti and outlying villages. Operations include gathering civil information, project management, and working closely with all levels of government, among other related work. The village visits are a key part of CJTF-HOA's 3D-approach to its mission, which includes defense, diplomacy and development of East Africa.