On February 18, 2016, U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Officer Roberto Quiroz II joined Garoua Air Base Commander Colonel Bartholeme Tsilla, U.S. Army Captain Patrick Casserleigh, and U.S. military members in a school visit in Garoua. They were welcomed by over 500 children, parents, teachers, and the school principal for a ceremony to transfer books and new desks from the United States to the school. Colonel Tsilla recently led efforts to paint the school. The donation project was funded by the NGO Spirit of America with facilitation by the U.S. military Civil Affairs team on behalf of the American Task Force personnel, the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde, and Colonel Tsilla. See Facebook album of program: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10156544325495716.1073742167.312546460715&type=3.
The event began with the singing of the national anthem of the Republic of Cameroon by the students, followed by remarks by the school principal, a parent, Colonel Tsilla, Captain Casserleigh, and Public Affairs Officer Roberto Quiroz II, all of whom underscored the importance of supporting Cameroonian children as they are the future of this nation.
Colonel Tsilla thanked the United States for supporting education and Cameroonian children through their community relations programs, and urged students to study and persevere to contribute to their country’s development. Captain Casserleigh thanked the community for their welcome to the program and underscored the United States’ commitment to implement partnership programs that support education.
In his remarks, Mr. Quiroz highlighted the United States’ commitment to strengthen our partnership with Cameroonians from all sectors. “America believes that you, the children, are Cameroon’s future. As President Obama has said, the future of Africa and Cameroon must and will be built through your immense talents and contributions. That is why expanding educational opportunities for you is so important. America stands here with you today to reaffirm our belief in you, and to convey the message which President Obama and Ambassador Michael S. Hoza, who have said that each child here, each of you, is very important to this country and to the world. We also urge you to look at the Cameroonian heroes here among us today, like Colonel Tsilla, who sets an example of leadership and achievement to follow. Nobody handed him an education and pilot wings. He had to earn them, persevere, and work hard to attain his dreams, and so can each and every one of you. When we say ‘on est ensemble’ we mean it in words and deeds. As you build your own dreams, remember along every step of the way in your journey that America believes in you!”
In remarks to the media, Colonel Tsilla and Mr. Quiroz reiterated their messages that the donation program highlighted the commitment by both nations to support Cameroonian children as essential to our security partnership. “Groups like Boko Haram violate human rights and are violently against education, children, and freedom. But the values of the Cameroonian people are different. Cameroonians cherish children and have always considered peace and security to be their birthright, and rightfully so. We salute this nation’s steadfast defense of its security against Boko Haram, which will be defeated by Cameroonian and MNJTF nations so that citizens can build the future of peace, prosperity, and opportunity that they deserve,” said Quiroz.
The program was part of the United States of America’s public diplomacy priority to partner with communities throughout Cameroon.