December 21, 2010

Young ‘Schoolie’ Claire Is A Hit With The Afghans from Helmand Blog - Afghanistan by ukforcesafghanistan

Helmand Blog - Afghanistan: Young ‘Schoolie’ Claire Is A Hit With The Afghans -
An Army education officer or ‘Schoolie’, deployed to Afghanistan to teach British forces, is doing her bit to cement relations with Afghan troops – by using her spare time to run special lessons for them too. And the extra tuition has gone down a storm with the Afghans, whose English is so good they can now even understand the British troops’ jokes!

Lieutenant Claire Westerman, aged 24 and from Southampton, arrived in Helmand province in October, as unit education officer with 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment. Her primary role is to rotate between each of the five company locations within the battalion’s area of operations in Nad-e Ali, conducting lessons in literacy, numeracy and command leadership. As a speaker of the Afghan language Dari, she also teaches basics to the troops so they can greet and communicate with locals when out on patrol.

As an addition to her core duties teaching the Royal Irish soldiers, Claire started out with a simple aim of teaching a group of around 60 Afghan National Army soldiers basic western numbers and letters. The aim of this was to help them understand British-produced operational maps. But the keen Afghan troops enjoyed the lessons so much that they soon wanted to sit in on those that had been organised for the British lads too.

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