Gallery: Estonian soldiers build saunas at UN bases in Mali

Estonian soldiers serving with the United Nation's mission in Mali built a sauna at the Timbuktu base for Christmas, making it the second Estonian soldiers' sauna in West Africa.

Major Steven Linkov, who serves on the UN mission MINUSMA in West Africa, wanted to continue the tradition of Estonian soldiers building saunas in places they serve.

The sauna is built in an old UN shipping container and the steam room is made from locally recycled wood. It can accommodate nine people and is heated by an electric stove. There is also a changing room, shower, and a covered roof terrace has a barbecue area with garden furniture. 

The sauna at the UN Timbuktu base is the second build by Estonians after the first was constructed at the Gao base, which is also in Mali, last summer.

Linkov said: "My wish was to continue the tradition of Estonian soldiers in the mission and to build a sauna for Christmas 2019. Today, the project has been successfully completed and the sauna has already been used."

He added that most users are from the Nordic countries, who are also serving on the base, but people from other countries have also expressed an interest.

As it was difficult to find materials and tools on-site at the Timbuktu base, Linkov turned to Estonian companies who were willing to support the project to ensure that a high-quality sauna was completed. 

The construction materials were obtained from engineers at the MINUSMA Timbuktu base. Officers built it on weekends and within a month the sauna was completed.

Stokker AS and Warren Safety OU, and the National Defense Investment Center and units of the Defense Forces contributed to the construction of the sauna.

The first Estonian soldier's sauna in West Africa was completed in the summer of 2019 at the Gao base in Mali where the Estpla-34 infantry and support group are currently serving. It can accommodate eight people.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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