Rita likes US Seabees

Rita Elementary School parents, teachers and students warmly recognized the visiting US Navy Seabees team for work around the campus. Photo: Kelly Lorennij.
Rita Elementary School parents, teachers and students warmly recognized the visiting US Navy Seabees team for work around the campus. Photo: Kelly Lorennij.

KELLY LORENNIJ
Rita Elementary School continues its streak of progress with a new library and lunch ettonaak (covered lanai) donated by the US and built by US Navy Seabees with the help of Marshallese volunteers. Construction finished last week Thursday and a blessing ceremony brought together a thankful parent-teacher association, excited students and proud volunteers.

US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Rachael Doherty spoke of the value of children in her keynote remarks saying, “One of the things we like to invest in is our children.” Their school is a reflection of their potential, she continued, and having Seabees — hard working, thoughtful and resourceful people who made the long journey to work in RMI — involved is a demonstration of the friendship that the US wants to continue with the people of the Marshall Islands.

Students now have a cool, newly painted ettonaak area right outside the renovated library. The Seabees did not stop with these two projects they were originally tasked with. They also set up a playground by the kindergarten building and a water catchment by the school garden, an effort that did not go unnoticed.

By the end of the blessing ceremony, the Seabees were given a taste of local kammolool (thank you) complete with music, handicraft neckties, warm hugs and a table overflowing with amimono handicrafts. The next Seabees project will involve the Majuro Deaf Education Center at Marshall Islands High School.

Read more about this in the February 1, 2019 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.