By Micol Berhe
I’m not an early riser and I’m most of the time not punctual per say, but this morning I had every interest in being on time. We were told to be present at six, if the contrary we would be left behind because we would be following a tight schedule since the time frame we had was not long. Knowing myself I prayed very hard to wake up early and thankfully I had help from my dear co-worker whom was used to early sunrises. After her slightly late wakeup call we headed to the appointment site to discover that we were with the first comers. Our trepidation was soon quieted and we successfully managed to pursue good sitting places in the front of our transportation since the reason for me waking up at that hour had one purpose only – our trip to the historical site of Adi Begi’o.
This trip is the episode finale of a course that the members of various offices like the NUEYS and NUEW have been attending this past years in the meeting hall of the Central Region P.F.D.J. office. Since this location is situated after Adi Quala we had to pass most of our time on the bus and we would reach it after some hours. What was a wining point of this trip was the fact that the staffs working all under the central office were sharing together for the first time this short framed journey. Our coordinator had prepared the outline very carefully and all we had to do was just hop on the bus and get going. As soon as we were out of Asmara, my eyelids started growing slightly heavy and the lulling of the big bus was efficient enough to persuade me to close them for a little while, just until we reached our first stop of the day – Adi Halo. This is where one of the dams is being built by young but extremely efficient and diligent workers that are constructing, planting and much more without any ado. Here I had the pleasure of finding one of the greatest artists in our country; Ghidey whom after informing me that he is officially working in the construction of the suspension bridge, gave us a very interesting speech about the painting of Adi Halo that we were all so familiar with. It is his own creation and it was very appealing to find out the inspiration behind the artist’s hand. One day, in a near future that we all hope to be part of, Adi Halo will be the recreational park that for now is just depicted in his painting.
Back on the bus we followed the new almost finished road that leads to Debarwa and leaving the latter to our left we proceeded to visit the animal farm near the previous college of Halhale. Our subsequent stop was one of the other dams in the region, Gergera, which is i think twice the size of Adi Halo. I have to admit I felt somehow this nostalgia/relief because it was two years ago that some colleagues of mine and I were there to attend a service for our office and we spent six weeks together sleeping in tents and going for hikes. With so many stops planned ahead our coordinator was smoothly trying to steer us quickly on and off the bus but how could we possibly not stop in front of those amazing sights and colours not to mention being out door in the warmth of the sun and the wind effortlessly breezing freely just for us? Dear John if you are seeing this we are truly sorry we were lingering behind but we know you understand. My second round of napping on the bus was unfortunately disturbed by two spiteful people that had managed to find place right behind us. They just simply couldn’t understand that some people unlike them; whom kept on fidgeting the entire time, like to actually take naps on the road. Well at least I do. They seemed to want to fill the gaps between one stop and the other by poking me and waking me up to ask very silly and annoying questions like: Hey are you asleep? Are you seeing this? Do you want a banana?
It took us the whole duration of the trip to actually overcome our barriers (mostly mine since they had been efficiently incommodious to me) and become friends and share a plate of pasta on our way back to Asmara. At around half past one we had reached Adi Quala and we gladly discovered that the NUEYS of that region in honour of us taking this trip had prepared as a token of appreciation a small show for us in a small recreational area where we sat down and ate from the sack, literally because we had prepared for the road and we had injera with red meat, rice and fried chips accompanied with coke all on use and throw plates.
The Red Flowers of Adi Quala sung some solos and group songs successfully entertaining us and keeping us in awe even when we had departed from them. I made the acquaintance with Tsigereda from the Red Flowers at the pumping well in the recreational park, whom sung beautifully one of the solos. Our last and main stop was in Adi Begio, 5 km from Adi Quala where the history of that place, the view itself had us falling all over again in love with this land, this soil whose call is so strong yet so sweet, and this young, so young nevertheless from ancient origins terra firma had us all captivated in her grace and magnificence. Here had taken place if not the most heroic at least one of the many acts of selflessness and heroism by our brothers and sisters during the time of the battle with the Weyane.
The people of the village refused running away and stayed behind (while the Eritrean army was accomplishing one of the most memorable acts of defence in the border lines) and even managed from time to time to reach the front lines to deliver small provisions to the soldiers encouraging them and pushing them. We had the pleasure to meet two of those soldiers: Mr. Tsegay from the 29th and Mr. Daniel from the 33rd and they explained to us that the attack was made precisely on our Independence day so that according to the enemy’s line of thought the attack wouldn’t have taken the whole day and by the end of it they were planning to reach at the very least Mendefera and turn a festive celebration into harm and despair. Thankfully their line of thought was met by the determination and fiery pride of those mentioned above heroes and their brothers and sisters.
On our way back home we had one more treat kept waiting for us. In fact when we reached Mendefera we had to stop again and step down but this time it was for a delightful coffee time with the National Union of Eritrean Women and some singing time with an unexpected guest that came purposefully for us: Sami Berhane. By the time we were back on the bus and once more heading home we were pleasantly tired and full of images in our eyes that I believe will be the pillars to many more memories still to be made. Some of our fellow colleagues had some deliciously prepared pasta with meat sauce and they generously provided everyone on the bus a fully filled plate for dinner that I ended up sharing with my apparently newly acquainted annoying friend from the NUEYS.