NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Engineers assigned to Nuristan’s Provincial Reconstruction Team conducted a concrete self-help class for local Afghans at Forward Operating Base Kalagush, Oct. 8.
Held every Thursday, the self-help class, which averages 10 to 15 students a week, teaches villagers basic construction techniques they can use to improve their local communities.
“When I started the development of the classes, I looked into the Nuristan province’s state of living and sanitation issues,” U.S. Navy Lt. Christopher Saunders, who began the classes shortly after the new PRT arrived this summer, said. “I decided that the best plan of action was to have the local community do self-help projects that would teach them something to take back to their villages so they can improve their sanitation and ventilation conditions.”
The current project, headed by the PRT engineers, but taught by Afghan engineers working with the PRT at FOB Kalagush, is the construction of a pit latrine. The students learned to excavate a deep hole, and line the inner wall with brick. The students also discussed ventilation techniques, decreasing the chances of spreading infectious diseases.
“We’re hoping that in addition to the materials we provide for them to improve their villages, that they gain a better understanding of the construction we teach them, and also develop better relationships with the people from other villages that they are working here with,” Saunders said.
After the class, PRT engineers sent the Afghan villagers home with ten bags of cement to work on the projects discussed in the class. Periodically, the PRT will send the Afghan engineers to the villages to check on the students’ progress.
“I get a great deal of satisfaction when I see pictures of finished projects from the locals,” said Saunders. “It shows that they’re taking in these lessons and using what we’ve taught them to give back to their villages.”
The Nuristan PRT is a joint force consisting of U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, and U.S. Navy servicemembers, whose ongoing mission is to aid in reconstruction efforts within the province.
NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jordan Parker of Provincial Reconstruction Team Nuristan, from , loads cement mixer into a cement truck while Lt. j.g. Christopher Saunders supervises during the cement self-help class on Forward Operating Base Kalagush, in this photo taken Oct. 1. The self help concrete class, headed by Provincial Reconstruction Team Nuristan engineers, but taught by local engineers who work on the FOB, is held every Thursday and teaches locals from all over the Nuristan province various projects that they take back to their villages to help rebuild it. (Courtesy Photo)(RELEASED
NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Afghan students of the self-help concrete class carry bags of cement out of a shed to be taken to their village in order to finish their current project on Forward Operating Base Kalagush, Oct. 8. The self help concrete class, headed by Provincial Reconstruction Team Nuristan engineers, but taught by local engineers who work on the FOB, is held every Thursday and teaches locals from all over the Nuristan province various projects that they take back to their villages to help rebuild it. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ashley Hawkins) (RELEASED)