Eritrea: The Miracle of Working Together
|Youth group in Germany coming together to keep their Eritrean identity alive in the diaspora|
The Miracle of Working Together
Dr. Tesfa G. Gebremedhin, West Virginia University
The relationship we establish and maintain among ourselves is what life is all about. We discover our roles in life and in our communities and religious institutions through our personal relationship and working together. When we handle conflicts properly and appropriately and work together through profound relationship, we grow closer to one another. Cooperation is a way of energizing people to think and work together. It is the exploration of multiple options and expertise from various perspectives that discover new ways that are better, simpler, and more efficient in solving community problems. Quite ordinary people consistently do extraordinary things with a mix of collective thoughts and effective cooperation. Shared knowledge gains knowledge in return, and polled knowledge consistently leads to better or superior outcomes. When problems are complex, seemingly insurmountable, or just difficult to solve, answers and breakthroughs are more likely to be discovered through a collaboration of diverse capabilities and/or divergent perspectives of people of all walks of life. The following two narratives boldly illustrate the fruits and miracle of working together.
Charles Osgood tells the story of two ladies, Margaret and Ruth, who lived in a convalescent center. Both ladies had suffered serious strokes. Margaret's left side of her body had been restricted, while Ruth's right side of her body was also similarly affected. They came to the convalescent center to recuperate from their illness and gain normal function of their limbs. Both ladies were accomplished pianists but had given up hope of ever playing again after they suffered the strokes. Since the right hand of Margaret and the left hand of Ruth still functioned normally, the director of the center suggested that the two ladies try playing the piano together. They did just that, worked diligently together, and succeeded. They played excellent music in numerous concerts and gained fame and glory as a duet. However, over and above all the success and, better still, they developed a beautiful friendship and a wonderful life for themselves.
Under similar circumstances a there were two neighbors who happened to be best friends since childhood. Bhta was vision impaired and Desta was a hearing impaired. Desta got married to a young woman named Rahwa who was also hearing impaired. Bahta was a widower; his spouse died a year after his wedding. He earned income from his crop share and supported himself by leasing his land. He received help from his neighbors and friends in terms of cooking and fetching drinking water. Soon after their wedding, Rahwa delivered a beautiful baby boy and they named him Yinabi which means the care taker from God. Bahta became the God-father of the boy. One day in the middle of the night the baby was crying terribly, but the parents could not hear him Next door, Bahta heard him but was unable to wake up the parents. Bahta got up and managed to force himself inside the house to wake up the parents. The child was exposed to the cold weather and caught pneumonia. Immediately they took him to the hospital to receive the necessary medical attention. The child was saved by Bahta. After that day they decided to design something practical to protect Yinabi from any danger. They bought a long rope and made a hole through the wall between the two houses. The rope had to pass through the hole from the bedroom of Desta and Rahwa to the bedroom of Bahta. Every night the rope was tied on both ends to the ankles of Desta and Bahta. For one reason or another whenever Yinabi happened to cry at night, Bahta would hear him and pull the rope to wake up his friends. Together they raised and nurtured the child and later Yinabi grew up to become a medical Doctor. Dr. Yinabi became an eye and ear specialist with the intention to make a difference in the sight of his God-father and the hearing of his parents. He performed a surgical procedure on his God-father and on his parents, improving their hearing and sight significantly. . It was a miracle that his God-parent could fairly see and his parents could hear with the help of hearing aide. In the end, the two friends continued to live in the same neighborhood in peace and harmony. Dr. Yinabi got married purposely to a hearing impaired beautiful lady, raised five wonderful children and all lived happily ever after.
Three thousand years ago, realizing the miracle of working together, King Solomon wrote, (Ecclesiastes 4:9-11) "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?" It is obvious that thee power of one, if focused and committed, is formidable, however, the power of many working together is always better and sustainable. Every successful individual should know that his or her achievement in life directly or indirectly depends on a collective effort of people in a community working together. It is when we start working together and sharing the load that the real healing and success in life takes place. Economic deployment and social progress in any country never comes by mere chance or coincidence; it is the result of efforts and forces of people working together. Eritrea won its thirty years of war and became independent as the result of its people fighting and working together. Similarly, freedom from colonial rule across the continent of Africa was achieved as the result of many of its people struggling and working together. As sticks in a bundle are unbreakable, so also a united people are unconquerable.
What has been currently happening in our communities and religious institutions is quite absurd and discouraging to observe. Our communities have become dysfunctional. Our children and parents are far apart in disarray. Our Eritrean scholars and professionals are just standing on the sidewalks watching from a distance as our communities are dismantling and our religious institutions disintegrating. It seems that we have stopped coming together to get involved and work together. We cannot accomplish all that we need to do without working together. We need to learn that binding together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; and working together is success. It takes thousands of bricks to build a house but it takes only a single brick to tear a house down. As a single leaf working alone provides no shade so also a single person working alone, cannot accomplish common goals. An individual person cannot be a thousand people but that individual person can join a thousand people and together those thousand people can make a big difference in the community affair. It is evident that the strength of a community is its individual members working together and the strength of its individual member is the community itself. Only by working together as a single force and united community will we remain strong and respected.
We need to realize that the Spirit of Cooperation or working together does not have restricted boundaries. It starts at home within ourselves and family members and extends to our friends and community. The Culture of working together is implemented at all levels of our communities and religious institutions. It is evident that we cannot establish the culture of working together and the spirit of cooperation by proclamation, or decree, It definitely takes commitment, determination, and willingness, from each individual person and the community as a whole to adopt and nurture the culture of working together It may take time and patience for the culture of working together to germinate and grow. However, “Little by little a bird builds its own nest.” To emphasize the blessing of working together, Jesus Christ said, “When two or more are working together with love and integrity, my presence with you is ascertained to strengthen your spirit of cooperation.” Mohamed also said to his followers, “Keep your tents separate, but bring your hearts together.” Likewise, we need to bring our hearts and minds together tin our communities and religious institutions so that we can nurture our children, preserve our cultural heritage, and cherish our ethnic identity in diaspora.
God bless us all!
Eritrea: The Miracle of Working Together Reviewed by Admin on 12:45 AM Rating: