While the number of Eritreans in Diaspora visiting their home for vacation is huge it is not what makes their homecoming special. What is rather important is the activities they give priority too. Most people tend to give more priority to entertainment during their vacation times. This is in order to make the tired body and mind get refreshed and empowered. In the emergent tradition of the Eritreans in Diaspora visiting home, however, entertainment is not given that much weight.
An expatriate who once visited the head office of the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students (NUEYS) last summer has asked me whether the organization facilitate any entertainment programs for the youth in Diaspora who are home for vacation. This question, which indicates that entertainment has also a priority in planning vacations, was not raised from out of nowhere; it came from a group of people
from the Diaspora who were preparing to travel to attend the 25th Anniversary of the Eritrean National Service at Sawa and to take part on the summer program called “Tour Your Country”.
It is common during this time to see Diaspora Eritreans touring developmental sights in their country during their vacation at home, instead of mere entertainment. In my opinion they are doing it in search of their dreams, seeking for the possible skylight that exhibits the upcoming national beauty. As patriotic people are characterized by high degree of national pride, their top priority overlaps with the top national priority. Thus, the reason of visiting what is ongoing in the national development process is in search of what is being done in making strong basis of the future of the nation.
The ‘Tour Your Country’ program has enabled participants to witness for themselves what has been done in the developmental activities in their own land; i.e. observing social service infrastructures like strategic dams, bridges, colleges, hospitals, and schools, being constructed by 100% local Eritrean capacity, where, young graduates are given high opportunities to build up their personal experiences and practical knowledge in short period of time.
Through this program, NUEYS’ focus last summer was to provide tour around strategic dams that are located nearby social services infrastructures. The visited projects include: Logo Dam with the reservation capacity of more than 30 million cubic meters located about 30km south-west of the capital, Mslam Dam with the reservation capacity of about 50 million cubic meters located about 40 km south of the capital, and Gahtelay Dam with the reservation capacity of about 50 million cubic meters located 65 Km in the east of Asmara. In all the sights visitors were given detailed explanations by young engineers who are co-leading experts of the overall construction works of the strategic social service infrastructure projects.
As I was inspired by the explanation given by these young engineers, I was encouraged to compare the data they presented with other realities. According to the World register of Dams, a structure with the reservation capacity of more than three million cubic meters and that has 15 meters high front wall is considered to be the World class large scale dam. Based on the current statistics, the leading countries with the big number of large scale dams are the People’s Republic of China positioned itself at number one with more than 19,000 and the United States of America ranking second with more than 5000 large scale dams.
In relation to the landmass of Eritrea the number of strategic dams that are constructed or are under construction in the nation is significant. And more important is the reason why these constructions gained the national priorities. Specially, for a country like Eritrea, that is located in the ever growing Sahara zone, is necessary to accumulate adequate water for household, livestock, agriculture, tourism, energy, mining and industry is very vital for the sustainability of the country. Thus, as the common quotation, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”, depicts, I believe that the visitors were able witness how the future of Eritrea is best predicted with concrete actions at the grassroots level
By Abeba Mehari