Bastogne Soldiers visit Cameroon orphanage

Company B, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team “Bastogne,” 101st Airborne Division joined the civil affairs team of Task Force Toccoa for a visit to the orphanage of Centre Notre Dame de l’Accueil, 75 miles from Garoua, Cameroon.


“The Cameroonian orphans were full of joy and did not hesitate to ask the Soldiers to play soccer with them,” said Pfc. Steven Hixson, a rifleman in Baker Co from Los Angeles, California.
By 1st Lt. Christian Anderson 1st Brigade Combat Team Unit Public Affairs Representative Garoua, Cameroon Mar 14, 2017
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Company B, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team “Bastogne,” 101st Airborne Division joined the civil affairs team of Task Force Toccoa for a visit to the orphanage of Centre Notre Dame de l’Accueil, 75 miles from Garoua, Cameroon.

In an effort to experience the culture and help build U.S. – Cameroon relations, Company B, “Baker” Soldiers visited the orphanage to donate gifts as well as socialize with the orphans and caregivers. 

Sister Myriam Lum, the orphanage director, told the visiting Soldiers about the past of some of the children. Many have been victims of Boko Haram violence and other difficult conditions in the area. She expressed great appreciation for the time and generosity of the Soldiers.

“Everything bad had something positive,” she said, “I want to tell (you) that there is something positive to bring you here.” 

Families and Soldiers of 1-506th Inf. Regt. conducted a donation drive prior to the unit’s deployment, collecting gifts for the Cameroonian children. They collected everything from infant clothing to school supplies to help the people of the area.

Company B arrived in January to Cameroon, as part of the U.S. Army’s Regionally Aligned Forces in Africa. In addition to their primary security force mission, the Soldiers are also assisting with civil affairs projects such as this one in local communities.

During their visit, Baker Soldiers delivered the gifts, toured the grounds, and taught the young children how to play “Monkey-in-the-Middle.” They also joined the children for a game of soccer. The children were very quick to learn the games and enjoyed interacting with the Soldiers. 

“The Cameroonian orphans were full of joy and did not hesitate to ask the Soldiers to play soccer with them,” said Pfc. Steven Hixson, a rifleman in Baker Co from Los Angeles, California.

The visit was eye-opening to many of the Soldiers who shared in the trip. One Soldier shared a unique perspective, as he himself grew up in foster care.

“Growing up in foster care was rough at times and it often was difficult to stay positive, but the kids at the orphanage here in Cameroon were unbelievably happy and full of joy,” said Cpl. Cody Queen, a team leader in Co. B, from Buckhannon, West Virginia. “I think that says a lot about the people here.”

In the coming months, the 1-506th Soldiers will continue to focus on their security mission and maintaining training proficiency.  They will also continue to seek opportunities to experience Garoua, further promote peace, and influence positive relations with the Cameroonian people.

1st BCT is the Regionally Aligned Force supporting U.S. Army Africa events and exercises across the African continent this year. USARAF brings the Army team to assist U.S. partners in building ready forces and operating as part of a multi-national coalition.

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