GAROUA, Cameroon – Thanksgiving at Contingency Location Garoua, Cameroon, was a sunny, hot day with Soldiers and Airmen in rigorous competition trying to dominate both the basketball court and the volleyball sand.
Counted among the driven athletes were members of Cameroon Air Force Base 301 right next door to CL Garoua.
Col. Barthelemy Tsilla, commander of Air Base 301, and his Airmen were invited by Maj. Andrzej V. Kujawski, Task Force Darby commander at CL Garoua, to join in the American Thanksgiving tradition.
“It is my honor and privilege to share an important part of American culture with our Cameroon hosts who have given us much to be thankful for,” said Kujawski.
The day included about three hours of sports with the Cameroon Airmen walking away with a win in Volleyball and the U.S. Soldiers as champions of basketball.
Following sports was a true Thanksgiving meal with at least a dozen dishes including turkey, mashed potatoes, assorted pies and desserts.
In the end, sharing Thanksgiving together gave everyone involved an opportunity to get to know each other better.
“We are exchanging experiences with the American Army,” said Tsilla. “The way we are living together in the camp with our American friends, we are very happy. We are learning a lot from you. Your history and how you are respecting your history.”
Spc. Oumar Coulibaly, a TF Darby administration Soldier, enjoyed spending time with the Cameroon Airmen.
“It was great to bond with them and to connect with the community,” Coulibaly said.
TF Darby continues to plan and participate in combined social events with the Cameroon Airmen to foster a strong relationship.
“Events like this one provides the opportunity for healthy competition to bring our two nations closer together,” Kujawski said.
Strengthening bonds was a shared goal among the two services.
“It is a pleasure having you in Cameroon,” explained Cameroonian Capt. Patrick Ongong, flying instructor at Cameroon Air Base 301, “Coming here was a way to show that we want a better relationship with you.”