Below is a post from Staff Sgt. Christina Zamora, 17th Air Force Communications, about her experiences during Africa Endeavor 2009.
My experiences at Africa Endeavor 2009
By Staff Sgt. Christina Zamora
I recently had the opportunity to take part in a communications exercise in Gabon, Africa. The main goals were to enhance interoperability between the 25 African nations in attendance, while fostering friendships with the hopes of creating lasting working relationships.
Upon arrival at the site, I admit I had no idea what to expect. Being relatively new to the communications infrastructure field, I was unsure how I was going to be able to assist. Luckily, I quickly discovered that I was in the presence of some very talented men and women. I learned that within the first four days of the exercise, we had already surpassed the major accomplishments of the previous year’s exercise. To see the Data Chief’s face as he explained how proud he was of the fact that they had successfully configured a routing protocol was thrilling for me. Not only were these guys smart, they were hungry to move forward. With the major goals of the exercise already accomplished, the data chief and the lead nations decided to set up three additional servers to include DNS, web access and mail. This was a huge personal achievement and one that I was excited to be a part of. We were working successfully with our African partners!
This was my first time to Africa and I really couldn’t have asked for a more enjoyable experience. I met many interesting individuals from many different countries. Each delegation was extremely proud of their country and was very welcoming. Additionally, I was invited to visit with some of my new friends in their countries so that I could experience the beauty first hand! It was refreshing to be around so many genuinely friendly people.
I will always look upon my trip to Africa with great fondness because of the goals we accomplished and the friends that I made. I think my favorite memories will be of the soccer games we played.
Through extreme heat, the teams played hard and had a great time together. It was inspiring to see everyone come together throughout the event, on and off the field. I am so very glad that I’ll be working with 17th Air Force and U.S. Africa Command for the next four years, as it means I’ll have the opportunity to return to Africa and continue fostering relationships with these great people.
Photo: 17th Air Force Staff Sgt. Christina Zamora verifies a functioning data system with other partner nations participants in Exercise Africa Endeavor in Gabon Oct. 2.