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Reading between lines: “Eritrea Remembered, Recollections and Photos” by Peace Corps

Reading between lines: “Eritrea Remembered, Recollections and Photos” by Peace Corps

By Yosief Abraham Z

I shall never forget the ambition, grace, and intelligence that characterized my students
Neil Kotler

This book was presented to HorMid reading club on Wednesday, 17 January of 2018. The details follow:

Curt Peterson is nostalgia of the cozy time he had back in Eritrea from 1966-1970. He wrote on ‘Physics, Politics and Music’ and amplified the co-existence of Eritreans at home. “I could never repay the people of Eritrea…for their support, kindness, wisdom and patience. Thank you,” accolades his stay with Eritreans.

Following to the elaboration by Peterson on page 89, Wayne Kessler also archived his impressions about Asmara. As volunteer instructor in Adi Tekelezan, Kessler is engulfed by the memories Asmara has inculcated in his blood. “Asmara still looked like a southern Italian art deco style town with fading pastel colors and ornate windows and doors,” he started unfolding his empirical attachment to Asmara on page 9 of the book edited by Marian Haley.

After remembering the segregators policies the Italians were adhering, Kessler adds, “We were walking on streets that had been previously off limits entirely or at least after evening curfew. Surprisingly, after thirty years war, it was safe to walk around anywhere night or day.”

In addition to this detail on page ten, Kessler remembered the ex-house keeper, Abeba, in nostalgic. “She wanted to prepare a meal for us, but when we declined, she rummaged around and produced six eggs for me to Laurie in California. I almost cried.” In support of this, Tom Gallagher testifies: “Eritrea gave me the best two years of my life for which I still be eternally grateful. It also gave me the best friends I’ve ever had.”

Moreover, within cultural parameters, one of the former Peace Corps members in Mendefera, Cynthia Kibnberlin, unfolded her diary on musical legacies of Eritreans. In the article “Things Matter in Ways We Never Imagine,” Cynthia authenticates that “although I have since studied other music, none has had a greater impact on me than that first experience of hearing…Eritrean music in Africa.”

Of the many contributors to the book, “the Saga of Segeniti’ by Paul E. Huntsburger catches the deep meaning of heartfelt connection between human transcendence. Paul revisited Eritrea in 2002 and met Mother Berekti Andu, the great Eritrean woman who was the housekeeper of Mr. Paul crew back in 1965 to 1971. In addition to her mesmerizing culinary skills and sanitary regulations, Paul details about Weizero Berekti Andu. He narrates:

“About age 50, she was an amazing woman who had never attended school yet spoke Tigrigna, Amharic, English, Italian and Arabic. She, Berekti, became a special person in my life and I thought of her not as a maid, but as my Eritrean mother who counseled me as I learned to adjust life.”

With other impressively archived memories and testimonies of first-hand witnesses, the book revolves on connecting Eritrean values with the current generations. Indeed, Eritreanism is not only in name!
Yosief Abraham Z is an Excecutive Director and freelance journalist for various Horn and Middle East media-outlets. You can contact him at

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Reading between lines: “Eritrea Remembered, Recollections and Photos” by Peace Corps Reviewed by Admin on 12:05 AM Rating: 5

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