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Samuel B. Roberts Sailors Participate in Kenyan COMREL
Sailors from USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) (Sammy B) built and painted blackboards for a community relations (COMREL) project at Marenje Primary School, July 21, 2011. <br /> <br />This project is just one of the many ways Sammy B is
MOMBASA, Kenya - The guided-missile frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) arrives in Mombasa to take part in a training "Hub" in support of Africa Partnership Station (APS) 2011, July 19, 2011. APS is an international security cooperation initiative, facilitated by U.S. Naval Forces Africa, aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class William Jamieson)
1 photo: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 1 of 1: MOMBASA, Kenya - The guided-missile frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) arrives in Mombasa to take part in a training "Hub" in support of Africa Partnership Station (APS) 2011, July 19, 2011. APS is an international security cooperation initiative, facilitated by U.S. Naval Forces Africa, aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class William Jamieson) Download full-resolution version
Sailors from USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) (Sammy B) built and painted blackboards for a community relations (COMREL) project at Marenje Primary School, July 21, 2011.

This project is just one of the many ways Sammy B is participating in Africa Partnership Station East's Kenya "Hub".

Marenje Primary School, located in one of the poorest areas of Kenya, serves more than 295 students at four grade levels with just four full-time teachers. The difficult task of providing students with a quality education is even more difficult with the lack of adequate teaching materials.

Head teacher Ngalaa Mwanyamawi, who is a stickler for good penmanship, said the blackboards Sammy B's Sailors constructed were going to make a big difference in the ease with which his teacher's could do their jobs.

"Before, we would write on small slates, which makes it difficult for all the children to see," said Mwanyamawi. "The blackboards will allow us to show the children how to write the words correctly and our assignments will be more effective."

A 24-year-veteran teacher, Mwanyamawi said the visit by Sammy B's crew lifted the spirits of the students and teachers at Marenje as high as he had seen them.

"We were so excited when we heard we were going to have our friends here," said Mwanymawi. "We began to teach all the children a welcoming song to show off for our new friends. When we saw the bus, the children could barely contain their excitement. We appreciate everything our new friends have done for us, and we hope they will come again soon."

Besides building blackboards, the sailors also brought soccer balls for the children to enjoy.

Sammy B´s Boatswain's Mate Seaman Kendall Tyre said he was really happy to see the children laughing and smiling, and he found the overall experience both humbling and inspiring.

"These kids are very, very poor, but you don't feel sorry for them because they are just so happy," said Tyre. "It was a culture shock, but it's what I got into the Navy to do. I want to be out there doing good for people. I feel like we did that today."

Asked if he would consider participating in another COMREL, Tyre gave a two- word answer, "most definitely."

Sammy B will soon continue their involvement with Africa Partnership Station East with training and community relations in Tanzania.

Sammy B is on a regularly scheduled deployment to the Sixth Fleet area-of-responsibility.

APS is an international security cooperation initiative, facilitated by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.
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