By Army Staff Sgt. Christina Turnipseed U.S. Army Africa
GAROUA, Cameroon, Jan. 8, 2018 — In Task Force Darby’s efforts to support the Cameroon military’s fight against the violent extremist organization Boko Haram, other humanitarian opportunities often present themselves.
One such opportunity was a civil affairs-led team made up of soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment; the 806th Adjutant General Detachment; Civil Affairs Team 4032 and other service members. This team provided food, soccer balls and moral support to the boys of Saare Jabbama, a youth rehabilitation center for boys ages 8 to 18.
According to Army Capt. Scott Wyly, commander of Civil Affairs Team 4032, many of the boys living at the center either can't find jobs, can't find their parents or are homeless.
The reasons why several soldiers and service members volunteered to deliver food, soccer balls and nets also vary.
“The civil affairs team has had a strong relationship with the center for the last couple years and visits the center on a monthly basis. Private donors from the United States frequently send donations for the [civil affairs] team to give to the children at Saare Jabbama,” Wyly said.
Love for Giving
The motive for some of the participating troops to volunteer for the humanitarian mission was a love for giving.
“Giving to the boys’ home was the best feeling for me,” said Army Sgt. Adrian Cordova, a mail clerk with the 806th Adjutant General Detachment.
“It was great to be able to see the excitement and smiles on their faces when we arrived. Playing soccer with the boys was an even greater feeling,” he said.
Army Sgt. John Marshall, also a mail clerk with the 806th Adjutant General Detachment, said he also enjoyed giving.
“I wanted to give back to other families and children that are less fortunate than I am. I feel really blessed to be able to help others in their time of need,” Marshall said. “I know what it's like to hit rock bottom. So for me, it is a blessing to give back.”
Army Spc. Ryan Worwood, with the 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, said he took part out of a general love for children.
“I’ve always wanted to do this since I got here,” he said. “I love little kids a lot. So, it was no surprise to my family that I volunteered.”