This is Andom Gebreyessus. I was born on the north most part of Tigrai, a small but old town called Adi-hageray on the 4th of September 1982. In fact I was born in some remote rural just kilometers away from this town from a peasant family living on a poor agricultural farming. Despite the absence of all modern life elements, our family used to live as happy as a sand boy. No one used to worry about electricity, telephone, internet or even the pure water. When I was only 6, my mom passed away while giving birth to a 4th child in our family. This marked the worst start of a dark future.
Until I was about 10, I was keeping herds in the country side travelling around the low-lands of western & north western Tigrai and South western Eritrea. There I, and of course many other cowboys, used to live merely on milk for several months with the vision of owning a large herd of cattle. I used to travel days & nights just to find a comfortable & sustainable grazing land, keeping them from beastly wild animals. Sometimes with friends, yet sometimes alone. There wasn’t a single jangle left we never know from north Gondar to South Eritrea and from Western Tigrai to Eastern Sudan. That was the most golden part of my life I really consider have ever lived.
In the hottest seasons of 1990 the jangles of these areas started deteriorating and collapsing due to the fierce and repeated wars fought among ‘Dergue’, TPLF, ‘Sha’abia’ and other forces. As a result of which, a heartrending drought was born. I lost all my cattle and left with only one ox from among more than 100 cattle. This marked another gloomy prospect and more despondently the end of my self-employment.
I returned back home for the first time since my mother’s death. This was August 1990, soon after the down fall of the dictator leadership. Life was already following a different face at home – there was no more mom. Fortunately (if I can say is fortune after I have lost everything including my mom & herds), this was the year where all social services launched back into effect after long years of cloudy and uncertain political atmosphere around the HARA MERET TIGRAI [ሓራ መሬት ትግራይ] (Free Zone of Tigray). It was to mean an area free from any political administration – though unwritten history yet.
December 1990. I was enrolled to school – Grade 1. The first year of my school life! Academically, everything was easy for me since, thanks to my father, I already know the letters both ሀ ሁ… in Tigrigna and A, B, C… in English as well as the numbers in both languages. I stood first both from my class and all the other classes in my first year, first semester. I could have been promoted hadn’t the school been too late to collect the regulations concerning promotion from the bureau of education.
The year gone so soon and I achieved the same result for the next semester. It’s now a summer time, a time that I have to go to where there is a job for the next three months. This is the right time I collect money for the next academic year. I packed my luggage and left for Barentu, a small south-west Eritrean town. Somewhere there are Italian agricultural sites. This is their right time to start work and we know that. Every time after the school closes I had to go there or somewhere else or I can’t continue school the next year. In fact, after working for some three consecutive summers, my brother and I bought a bicycle and accessories, with which we opened a bicycle repairing shop. Then when we were off school, we started to generate income by renting a bicycle and providing maintenance service.
Grade two, my second year in school. This year I was promoted to the third grade at the end of the first semester, two grades in one year. The next year was similar; except that my brother was enrolled – grade 1. I completed another two grades, 4th and 5th, in another one year, so does my brother, 1st and 2nd grades. What is most surprising is I managed to stood first in all grades, even though I was promoted and have missed half a semester. In grade 6 and 8, we took the National Exam and my score was as usual atop.
When school ends then come closing ceremony and that top scorers had to be awarded, it was almost my ceremony. I receive a number of awards for standing first from class, unit and for participating in different extra-curricular activities, this is I think another performance I must tell. Since my early elementary study I had a hobby of writing poems, essays, and plays as well as painting and hand craft. Especially the poems, I was a star. Every ceremony, be it academic, administrative or any social holiday, I was there with my relevant poem. This wasn’t limited only to that locality, I participated more than four times at a region and province level and collected an award or otherwise a certificate. I was participating in such contests both in literature and painting late until I was a university graduate.
Despite the fact that I have to participate in different external activities, prepare food, pay rent and cover all my expenses on my own, school was easy for me. But the scene behind it, the home economics, and the sick family life after mom were sometimes at the verge of blowing up my mind. Life wasn’t easy for me with regard to this. It isn’t simple to generate your living while attending regular schooling. It isn’t easy to find yourself sauntering aimlessly at the middle of a crowd while everybody rushes home to a beautiful family. It isn’t as simple as someone may think to have no body by your side as early as your childhood at all conditions of illness or bad temper.
Anyway time flies with no pre conditions. It doesn’t care whether you are having beautiful moments or the worst ones, it passes. If you are having cloudy days, painful moments, long dark night, or whatever, the sun is sure to rise. That’s why registration time for grade 9 came soon before it’s not too late to put aside my memories in the elementary school. Then came another big problem. This school doesn’t provide high school courses. I had to go in search of a remote one. But it costs too much for me if otherwise impossible. The transport, the cost of living in a grown up town, and after all the cost for my life time headache – house rent. Fortunate enough my mathematics teacher took off some of my worries. I think this is the man that I owe moles of thanks and I would be happy to forward my gratitude at all opportunities. He was from Shire Indaselassie. He took me to his home, gave me one room until I finish school, told his mother to take care of me. I really don’t have words on his kindness.
Ohhhh God, I started school in Shire Secondary School in September 1997. School was somehow getting difficult. We had to take more than 15 courses, more than half of which are simply waste. After two months of quite intensive schooling, a different news came into the headline. The first of its kind school in the history of Tigray (and probably Ethiopia) came into existence – Kellamino Special High School (KSHS). It’s a special high school which offers free scholarship for top 60 excellent students who scored high in grade 8 national examinations and stood among the top 60 at an entrance exam. I was one of those who got the chance to take the entrance exam.
After taking the entrance exam in Mekelle, hopelessly I came back to Shire to continue my school. Two weeks later Saturday morning list of students who were eligible for the scholarship was announced through a local radio station (ድምፂ ወያነ ትግራይ = The Voice of the Revolution of Tigrai). I was listening to a neighbor’s radio from across the wall in between. Surprisingly my name was the first to be called. 60 different students, from different schools, luckily from all administrative zones, with different backgrounds with diverse dialects found ourselves at Kellamino – HIDAR 27, 1990 local calendar(Dec. 06, 1997). A very special day
You know life has many faces and I have seen all extremities. I had days darker than nights. Lonely days with no one to speak to. Days of empty-pocketed, nowhere to hang around, and after all invalid visions. Nights gloomy than the hell and all this was supposed to mean life. I have punished my feelings once and several times. I had times that I really thought God shouldn’t consider as I ever lived but as an apprenticeship to life. There were years that I forgot what it feels like to laugh. All I tried to be on my worst behavior and then again on my best one, neither one worked.
The good thing is nothing stands still! Everything passes as though it has never been. …my life is there. I haven’t seen my family in ages. I guess I finally realized that what you do with your life is really just one half of the equation. The other half, more important half really is, who you are with when you are doing it.
… life has many faces and ever since my childhood, I have seen all extremities. I had days darker than nights, lonely days with no one to speak to. Days of empty-pocketed, nowhere to hang around, and as a result of which, invalid visions. Nights gloomy than the hell and all this was supposed to mean life. I have punished my feelings once and several times. I had times that I really thought God shouldn’t consider them as I ever had lived but, may be, as an apprenticeship to life. There were years that I forgot what it feels like to smile. All I tried to be on my worst behavior and then again on my best one, neither one worked. The good thing is nothing stands still! Everything passes as though it had never been.
Professionally, I’m an electrical engineer and computer maintenance expert, website & mobile app developer, photographer and graphic editor, and an author and a freelance writer. With more than a decade years of experience, I’ve now a good reputation among my customers, business partners and friends. Anyone in need of any service related to the above skills can undoubtedly rely on my services and contract me.
This page is under development and if my life lessons could be of any use to any body, I’m going to tell what happened to my life, what happened to my dreams, what happened to my expectations.