FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, KIRKUK, Iraq - For many years the village of Bushariyah has been divided by nature, Sunni Arabs on one side of the river and Turkomen families on the other.
Bushariyah locals held an opening ceremony for a newly built culvert in Kirkuk province, Iraq, Jan. 26.
"The culvert now connects the Sunni Arabs and the Turkomen who live within the village," said Capt. Marlen Ramirez, team leader, Detachment 1, B Company, 490th Civil Affairs Battalion, based in Dallas.
A culvert is like a built-up dam that allows water to pass through while allowing locals to drive above it, said Maj. Dexter Caston, commander, Det. 1, B Co., 490th Bn.
Local Iraqi Security Forces came up with the idea for the project, which was funded by the Iraqi Commanders Emergency Relief Program, and built in just 90 days.
"The [Iraqi Police and Iraqi Army] will now be able to conduct their missions easily without having to go all the way around from one side of the village to the other," Ramirez said.
This newly built culvert also allows residents on both sides of the river to start building a stronger relationship for the sake of the village.
For many years, the Sunni Arabs and the Turkomen of this village have been in conflict, Ramirez said. "The connection between the two ethnicities in Bushariyah Village is now there, so it is up to them to make it work," he continued.
"Overall, I feel great about the project," Caston said. "It looked very good upon completion and the people seem to really enjoy it."