Sailors and Marines assigned to the amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) participated in a community service project, organized by the U.S. Embassy, at Beau Vallon School in Seychelles as part of the ship’s port visit, Aug 26.
A total of 50 Sailors and Marines participated in the event, which allowed those involved to give back to the people of Seychelles.
“We were able to landscape and clean around the school, and we also painted the school,” said Religious Program Specialist 3rd Class Shawna Fitzgerald, who helped organize the project. “They really appreciated the help, and we had a blast being there.”
There were many weeds to clear and trash to pick up around the school. They also trimmed hedges and did a general sweeping of the grounds. A fresh paint job made the school look newer and neater for the kids who attend the school.
“Thank you so much for volunteering. When the kids come back to school in September, they will have a nicer and cleaner school than when they left it thanks to you,” said Marie-Anette Ernesta, a Political/Economic Assistant in Seychelles.
Although school was not currently in session, Sailors and Marines also were able to interact with local children who were playing music in a classroom. Sailors showed the children some American dance moves, and the children demonstrated their dance steps as well.
“We were laughing and clapping our hands as they played music with drums and other instruments,” said Fitzgerald. “The kids were very cute and friendly. They also thanked us for being there.”
Service projects like the one conducted with the school serve to continue Naval Forces Europe-Africa efforts to strengthen maritime partnerships with East African nations like Seychelles in order to enhance regional stability.
“It is very important that we have gatherings like these,” said Ernesta. “Historically, Seychelles has a very close friendship with the U.S. and events like these continue to cement that friendship.”
Carter Hall is part of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet area of responsibilities.