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Why I Moved To Eritrea

Mela Tesfamichael

(Article was translated from German to English via online software)

Why I moved to Eritrea

By Mela Tesfamichael

A year ago, I returned to the country from which my parents have come. Although I grew up in Switzerland, Eritrea is my home - the land, where I feel I belong, the country where I want to contribute.

I can not count how many times you have "Why?" Asked me, usually with the sort expression that says "? Are you crazy" Sometimes I also felt admiration, especially from people who themselves do not have the courage to take this step had. There's a saying, of whose truth I am convinced: "It can be real to life and in everything you do, be passionate about the matter, is the key to happiness." Yes, "happiness". Many this word is not important enough. But I am therefore returned to Eritrea, because I'm happy there. Because it is my home.

Happiness is relative. Some are happy when they accumulate riches to buy a new car or find social recognition. Find other simpler things they are moral values, dignity and health more important than material possessions. I am probably in this category.

As an author I like to write about the stories of others; to write about their own, I find it hard, but I will do my best. Maybe I encourage so yes others to return to their homes and there to start a new life.

But first, a little background is in order: I grew up in a small Swiss town and have studied in the UK. After that I worked internationally and made once a jump to West Africa. From the end of my teenage years and my twenties through I was allowed to live again and again elsewhere, and I realized what I had thus very lucky. It gave me the opportunity to get a better look at the things that my character to shape, but also stamp out my views. The different cultures and concerns that inequalities in the world in which we live - they all have had an influence on who I am today.

Positive naivety

I could never settle down in the small, perfect Switzerland without having to know what it's like to live with less. Given what my parents and grandparents had gone through, it was inconceivable to deny for me, where I come from, and not to want to understand the lives of my ancestors.

My intellectual curiosity and the desire to make my contribution to combating the injustices of this society have drawn me in this direction. Which direction? First, the study: I ​​focused on economic developments in Africa. This was followed by volunteering as a teacher and mentor to share my knowledge in my spare time young people and promote their awareness. It may sound as speak as a naive young woman. Perhaps the word has "naive" for some of you something negative. But not for me. Because naivety is related to innocence, integrity, morality, and I do not mind to be put into this category. We sometimes need to insert evil from reality strikes, but ultimately it all depends on what expectations you have.

Tagged expectations: Mine are not particularly high. It is important to me that I follow my moral instinct and my moral values, the rest follows automatically from it.

You're probably still why I went back to Eritrea, where so many leave the country. When I'm sick of this question, I say I wants the Brain Drain counteract with Brain Gain. Less said sarcastically: Have not you ever had the feeling of having to do something before it's too late? If you are so determined to achieve a goal, then succeed one too. Personally, I took in my first year of study the decision, one day in Eritrea to live. This is now a while ago. I collected then a couple of years experience in the world of work and found that I was unhappy that I was not demanded enough that something was missing. From then the countdown ran. I wondered what was the meaning of life. Having a tiny apartment, owning a car, paying bills, occasionally go out, one, to drive two weeks a year in holiday - this was the life I wanted? I was bored in a society where the lost were the human aspects, displaced by technology, the Internet and smartphone applications that tell you what you should eat, how many kilometers you have covered on foot, or aroused the desire in my Instagram a picture to send it, what you ate for breakfast. It was a show-off life: I was shown on Facebook, where you just made holidays to impress his virtual friends, you made all day selfies and lurked on how many Likes obtained. In this narcissistic, egocentric, normalized World other might feel at home; not me.

Condescension in the passport office

I had the feeling that no longer fit in, at least at this time. I had occupied during my studies as mentioned with economic developments in Africa, and which has greatly influenced my thinking. What I like about the African culture in general and even more so on the Eritrean that I know by heart: People go head held through life, they do not care whether your product meet the latest fad, they are proud, confident and happy with what little they have.

Yes, I am from Switzerland, but also Eritrean. Both belong to me, in a country I arrived, the other I come. But I have always felt a strong bond to Eritrea, since childhood. I've lived there for weeks in the country, played with other children, so strong relationships with friends and relatives have sprung up everywhere in Eritrea, I always had the feeling of belonging, especially when I onths in the Sahel lived a few M. There is the word haliot, it means: helping one another füre inander be there, it stands for the love that you feel for each other in the Eritrean society. This does not mean that Swiss society is bad. But I had to make the experience that the "real" Swiss would never perceive me as a Swiss. Here I have made Swiss languages ​​and culture as its own and am proud to be Swiss, especially when I'm abroad. My mother always says: "There is no other country than Switzerland"; But a part of me will always remain in Eritrea.

If you do have other children left because you look not the same as, and give you the feeling of being inferior and not to conform to the current ideal of beauty, then you go into life with the feeling unlucky and be ejected, and the unsettled you deeply. I can remember the day when I should renew my Swiss Pass me yet exactly. When I asked a question at the counter lady, she said: "We are here in Switzerland, there are rules." I was flabbergasted by what prejudice and what condescension this officer met me. I replied that I was born and raised here, and that she should like to me not to be so arrogant people. I am sure that many naturalized citizens like me are treated still follows repellent. Yes, you will always treat us as second class citizens.

Thanks to our strong family structures I knew how important my roots are and how rich my inheritance, and so I did not pay attention too much on such negative reactions from my environment. Eritrean friends of mine suffered a similar fate: We always looked as a child to go on Sundays in the Eritrean education, because we were on our own and no one looked down on us.

Swimming against the current 

This sense of belonging brought me here originally to Eritrea. But that's not my only motive. It's frustrating as negative Eritrea is shown, being a leper in the community, and how hard one tries to isolate the country. This goes back to the early fifties. At the time, claimed the American Secretary of State John Foster Dulles before the UN General Assembly: "From the standpoint of justice, the opinions of the Eritrean people must be considered. But in view of the strategic interests of the United States, the country with our ally Ethiopia must be connected in the Red Sea region, the issues of security and peace in the world. "

The Eritrean people has always have to fight against stronger powers, and to this day is so. The strategies may change, but the country is challenged constantly. At the present time, in which serious journalism increasingly replaced by social media and gimmicky reporting PRKampagnen operate to affect the feelings of the public - usually with success. The media would like everyone to think the same, have the same opinions and ideologies, and if you dare to say the opposite, a label you will equal missed. Ordinary people think they know Eritrea, and talk about it as if they were politicians. This is similar funny how when I was trying to teach the basic concepts of a surgeon surgery. >>>

I think I'm one that like swimming against the tide. I think Eritrea is more off than the current PRKampagne wants us which affects the people and harms the sustainability of the country. I wish that journalists would focus on its task to go, to deal with the population and the larger contexts and then to report it. As I recently told a Norwegian journalist, also this coin has two sides. If you only look at one and the other ignored, that's your business. But it is not the truth in any case. So we come back to the initial question: Why I've given up everything to move to Eritrea?

Sense of belonging 

As mentioned, many are surprised. This has mainly to do with the image that have created our country, the media, and with the large number of Eritreans and people who look like Eritreans in Switzerland. Formerly the Eritrean community was like invisible and well integrated. But since then things have changed. I do not deny that there are problems in our country, but to put obstacles in our way, does not help for sure. So will be added sense of belonging that I believe to be with my knowledge and experience in Eritrea of ​​greater benefit than elsewhere. I came here with the intention of contributing as much and learn as I can. I wanted a clearer picture of condition, like living in Eritrea really is and when I can get it in two months holiday. I wanted be part of society, a similar All have day to be imposed upon me my own image to m. This is not always easy, but after a day here I can sleep peacefully and be satisfied with what I've done.

My brother once told me: "If you want to go there, do it. Of course, since you deserve less, the standard of living is not the same, even if you are doing the same thing - get up, work leave, come home. But the difference is that you are there part of society that you contribute to the development of Eritrea, entgegenwirkst the trend. And who knows, maybe others do it after thee; and definitely matters is that you are doing what makes you happy. "

Eritrea is a beautiful country with a huge potential. As a friend who moved here from the US, said: "You have to be able not only in the good times to visit your country, but also in the bad. Then it turns out how much your determination is worth it. "In fact, here in Eritrea developments underway, there are new partnerships and cooperation in the fields of energy, education and elsewhere, which is why one can expect positive changes in the coming years. Thus, Eritrea and Finland have agreed to cooperate in the field of education. The mining industry is booming, the water supply is improved, something is happening in the field of renewable energy and fisheries. Furthermore is nvestiert i in information and communication technology. It returns more and more people back into the country and invest. Journalists and politicians visiting the country because they want to know how it really like here. They show up positively surprised how hospitable, peaceful and safe conditions are. Some say: "Wow, teeming yes from people and the cafes are full." Since I have then on the stick teeth laugh because apparently have imagined a country that is closed and its inhabitants do not enjoy its life. Sorry: The reality is different. Our country has a bad image, because it has operated grandstanding to look at rather than reality. As Norwegian journalists, the building of the Information Minister IUMS visited, one of the employees there said, "We want more of you come and look at our country."

As Switzerland is also a clean Eritrea Bergland whose population does not like it when meeting outside standing powers decisions in their place. Of course, in the current phase of building our nation mistakes are made, but this is about a learning process, and in the current year there has already been progress as the revision of the civil and the criminal code, as increasing the salaries of those who National Service, many students were sent abroad to continue their studies, there are new bilateral agreements and collaborations.

For all these reasons I decided to move to Eritrea: in my home, the country where I feel I belong to the country, in which I am happy the country where I can make a positive contribution and learn at the same time, what really matters in life, namely: happiness in a world of uncertainty that it is essential to realize his dreams and goals. I could not live with the feeling: "What would have happened if. , .? "Eritrea always faces new challenges exposed, all the negative propaganda makes people blind to Potential of this country, its peaceful society and the developments that are under way. It makes down the country and does not want to admit it at the same time, what it is about the Horn of Africa: the problem of borders and that one does not keep for fifteen years of international agreements. But that is not sexy enough to make it into the headlines.

I have been asked to present my personal reasons, but many others are in the same situation as I, and our reasoning is: ". Because I love my home" I could not live with the feeling:

"What would have happened if. , .? "

Meala Tesfamichael, 28, has studied International Relations and Economics. She is a freelance journalist. 

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