You Have To See What These US Soldiers Built In The Middle Of The African Desert

Soldiers build house in Africa

Photo: DVIDS/Staff Sgt. Andrew Caya

Amid the stony, unforgiving terrain of Djibouti, U.S. service members have been working with villagers of the Tadjourah region to build a “beacon for the community to rally around.”And the way they did it is pretty remarkable, as you can see in the slideshow linked below.

Using cement, barbed wire, bags, and dirt, Soldiers from one of the Army’s civil affairs teams (CAT) assigned to the Horn of Africa taught villagers how to construct a building that can withstand harsh desert winds. 

Residents of the Karabti San village expect that the building — called an “eco-dome” because of its shape and the materials used — will have a lasting impact on the community. There’s now the prospect of government officials bringing them electricity, and they intend to use the structure as a school or clinic.

CAT team chief Capt. Justin Lev said villagers initially saw the eco-dome as an American project in their village, but now look at it as their own. That’s heartening for the U.S. mission of nation building in the Horn of Africa.

Funded by donations from civilian organisations, the $3000 eco-dome isn’t just a mud hut. Soldiers and villagers built the structure to have a primary and secondary unit as well as a loft.

“Teaching you something is better than giving you money,” said Kasim Ali, Karabti San village chief. “This [the eco-dome] is good and will last long. It is something good for the village.” Villagers will be able to build more themselves since the Army is leaving them with their tools, and the materials needed can be easily found in the remote area.

Soldiers and villagers hand-shovel dirt into a heavy-duty truck for transportation

They start mixing up a a cocktail of cement, dirt, and water

Here's how they mixed the cement — in a hole in the ground

This is a ballsy move — the bucket sailing through the air is filled with their messy concrete mixture

They fill donated burlap bags with the mixture — team chief Capt. Justin Lev holds steady

As the mixture hardens, they stick barbed wire on top of each bag to grip it in place — walls are formed

A little girl watches the team at work

Sgt. 1st Class Shane Banks puts his skills to use by working on window mounts — he's from the 257th Engineer Team

He carefully makes everything fit just right

The end result is a brand new school or clinic for the community — and a job well done

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