ABC11 in Kuwait: Creating a life inside the barracks

CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait (WTVD) -- In the middle of the Kuwaiti desert, North Carolina soldiers are finding something familiar -- American fast-food restaurants -- built out of metal storage containers.

"Being over here and deployed and away from your family and culture, being alone can be tough, but when you get a chance to escape even for an hour or two, to come to Starbucks or something familiar like Pizza Hut and just sit down with your buddies, it's just really comforting," said SFC Duane Brown with the 1st Theater Sustainment Command at Fort Bragg.

They can choose from Hardee's, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, KFC, Baskin Robbins and Subway. The prices are similar to those back home in North Carolina.

"It's a nice spot to come to, a little piece of home," said Spc. Victor de Leon.

WATCH: Steve Daniels' 6 p.m. report from Kuwait
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Little touches of home help soldiers cope with life in Kuwait.

The soldiers also get a break from the blowing sand and triple-digit desert heat inside their air-conditioned barracks that look and feel like a college dorm.


SFC Patricia Jenkins is a North Carolina soldier who explained how she makes her room in the barracks feel like home. She packs a box of personal items when she's getting deployed. She puts up posters, family pictures and always takes her favorite bedding.

WATCH: Nothing like a McArabia when in Kuwait
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What to eat when you're in Kuwait.

In their down time, soldiers can relax in the day room and play pool, foosball, or watch TV.

We spoke to SFC Lance Stewart of the Wake County based NC Army Reserve unit, 518th Sustainment Brigade.

"I heard that y'all were here," Stewart said. Family back home reached out and asked me if I'd seen any video cameras, that ABC11 was out in Kuwait and doing stories about soldiers and their lives."

WATCH: Steve Daniels previews our Tuesday report from Kuwait
Can't see the video? Watch it here
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It's morning in Kuwait and the day begins.

Stewart shared details about his nine-month deployment to Afghanistan and Kuwait. He explained that it is extremely difficult to be away from his 8-year-old son, Mason, who lives in Clinton.

He said he misses watching Mason grow up, losing his teeth, playing games, taking trips, and traveling with his son.

"We do everything together," Stewart said.

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