Hospital renovation work ends with celebration

13 Dec 2003 | Lance Cpl. Adam C. Schnell

DJIBOUTI, AFRICA - Personnel from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, along with Djiboutian Army officers, participated in a dedication ceremony to mark the final construction phase of a two month long remodeling project for a hospital here, Dec. 13.

The $64,000 renovation project, paid for by CJTF-HOA, will provide an adequate place for people in the city and the outlying communities to come and receive health care that previously wasn't available.

"The community really pulled together for this project," said Army Maj. Julian K. Garvin, team leader for the 478th Civil Affairs Battalion supporting CJTF-HOA. "They pulled together and really cleaned up the streets."

More than 45 local volunteers along with Boulhan Enterprise of Ali Sabieh came together to work on six different buildings that are part of the hospital. They worked on cleaning up the streets and floors along with painting the walls, shutters and doors, said Army Capt. Joseph P. Roberts, another team leader for the battalion.

The local volunteer groups included two male groups and one female group. The men's groups combined their efforts to paint a total of six exterior buildings and two rooms, said Garvin. The women's group also participated in the project by cleaning various areas.

"It's great to see that the community wants to make home a better place to live," commented Garvin.

The hospital was picked for its strategic location in the middle of many other smaller communities, commented Garvin. The hospital currently sees 50-75 patients on a daily basis.

"The city is also flourishing with hopes for the construction of several new buildings," added Garvin.

Along with the location of the hospital, the dilapidated state it was in was also a reason for the renovations that were made. Now that much of the work is completed, many ceiling fans are in place and operational, the walls are painted and the toilets are free of garbage and have running water.

The most important aspect of these projects is the community tie that is created between the city and the United States, commented Garvin.

"Everyone knows the United States is here to fight terrorism, but the social things that are being done are greatly noticed by everyone, and we thank you very much," said Commissaire Ibrahim Soubaneh Rayaleh, commissioner for the District of Ali Sabieh.

The dedication was also a ceremony to show the volunteers appreciation for the work they during the past few months. Army Brig. Gen. Willard C. Broadwater, deputy commander CJTF-HOA, gave many certificates of appreciation to members of the three different volunteer groups that helped in this project.

"We are very happy that the country of Djibouti and the United States could come together for this project," said Broadwater, while speaking at the ceremony.

Garvin ended by saying that, "The city is showing good progress, the energy is there, they just need guidance and resources."
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