Communication on a Different Level

Sergeant Daniel T. West, 358th Public Affairs Detachment, Africa Endeavor 2011 wrote:

They took to the field together, only their uniforms separating them, blue and green, no rank, no flags.

A casual observer could have been forgiven for not realizing they came from nations all over Africa and from as far away as America. Participants in Africa Endeavor come from 39 African countries, four western nations and six international organizations. Players in the soccer match represented many of those.

They took to the field together, communicating just as fluently as they had with their high-frequency radios in previous days. They played through puddles left by the morning’s rain, through mud and sand, goats running across the field – and even the occasional stray photographer.

Meanwhile, nearby, a volleyball match and a pick-up basketball game took place simultaneously, on the same court. Although it didn’t seem possible, the two were able to coexist with only a little interference.

Africa Endeavor took a pause – tactically speaking – July 17, for sports day and a traditional dinner. The exercise’s secondary goal, building relationships and interpersonal communication didn’t slow in the least. Only the medium changed.

After the sporting events drew to a close, the party adjourned to a hotel for the continuation of the day’s festivities. Delegates donned their traditional dress and walked a gamut of traditional dancers from the Fola and Jola traditions, capering wildly to driving percussion and lively melodies.

Inside, a feast awaited – a traditional dinner hosted by The Gambian Ministry of Defense.

After the delegates, the dancers moved inside, treating everyone to a show of traditional dancing and acrobatics. Again, there was no dividing line between nations, ranks or cultures. There was a group of people, none too different from one another. Each learned about the other, and each communicated with the other throughout the course of the night.

Amid dancing, gifts and copious amounts of food, an exercise that is all about communication managed to wrap up its day off with another exercise in communication.

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1 Response to “Communication on a Different Level”

  1. 1 halfmastpsmag August 2, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Fantastic post about tradition, and the ability of the people to put aside their military thinking, even if it was just for one day.

    The writing style here is very well done–the constant comparison throughout this post keeps the reader interested, and helps to fully convey the beauty of the day.

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