“Nowadays young people, no matter where they are, they connect and they have ample common interest in countries of the western world and their systems. A lot of youngsters these days have little knowledge of their own countries and history when they know so much about the West…” Said Mr. Redazghi, a scholar and an eminent figure, to the youth present in his conference. He went on to say: “…I don’t know about you, but I believe, that Eritrea is an ocean of knowledge. Life in Eritrea teaches you a lot”.
Therefore, when my team and I set out to the costs of the Red Sea for work, the words Mr. Redazghi conveyed in the conference kept resonating in my mind. I wanted to make my life in Eritrea as educating as it has been to one of Eritrea’s prominent figures, Mr. Redazghi.
Furthermore, in Massawa, Minister of Marine Resources, Mr. Tewolde Kelati, welcomed us with yet another interesting note. He told us: “What are we doing up in the hills, when down here we have a 1200 kilometers long amusing costal line and over 360 mostly uninhabited islands?” A question that pinched our consciousness, triggering thoughts of the things that our Nation can do with its blue wealth.
Eritrea’s blue wealth is a well of affluence that can promote economic growth for our people for generations to come. Eritrea’s coastal periphery to the Red Sea is in fact extremely strategic. The youth needs to learn and know about its importance. In a world were maritime connections have had great meanings for centuries, the work opportunities that can arise in our costal line are endless. But the threats we have to stand against can equally be many and of different challenges. Needless to say, the youth in Eritrea Marine Forces deserve great praise.
In line with their endless and extremely important tasks, members of the Marine Forces, have also adopted an additional task in their to-do list. They have since 2015 taken vigorously on greening activities; marking their every step with a contribution to give back to nature by planting and growing trees. This, especially, has marked me the most and made my stay in Ghedem yet another learning experience, and, the highlight of my trip to the coast.
Ghedem is the base of the Marine Forces, it is a big camp, very easy to call it a city of its own, characterized by the movement of members of the force. In the hot breath of the coastline, Ghedem breathes fresh and cold air from its manmade green lungs. I started to speak with many people to know about this specific trait of the camp. Finally, I had the pleasure of talking to the Manager of Ghedem’s Agricultural Activities: Freedom Fighter, Mr. Teklom. He explained to me that greening and agricultural activities are highly regarded in the camp. The cultivation of palm trees is an example.
According, to Mr. Teklom, in 2017 the Force reorganized to advance its greening and agricultural activities. They planned and prepared farm land, deposing the salty sand of the area by appropriate soil followed by coordinated efforts to promote the fertilization of the farm land cut for their plan. Three years later, now, they managed to plant and grow 4,000 palm trees of nine different plant seeds. The trees are all in good conditions and ready for yield in the coming harvest season. They plan on expanding, consequently.
Moreover, the camp has its own animal breeding side activity. It started as an interest of few in 2015 but now has evolved in a robust animal breeding scheme from which Ghedem’s canteen gets milk, meat and honey products to garnish the force’s meals.
The Night in Ghedem is equally amusing. At six o’clock bars and cafés open their doors. There are also several game inns where people can enjoy game nights playing Giottone and Billiard, very loved by Eritrean communities. Barber shops and book stores also are highly visited in the evening. All shops and salons provide a myriad of services, all very enjoyable and equally with fair prices.
Ghedem, what a coastal delight! And just like Mr. Redazghi’s words and the Minister of Marine Resources’ notes, in Ghedem, I learned a lot and realized that is so much we can do in our cost.
By Daniel Iyasu
Translation: Billion Temesghen