Asmara June 5th 2001
On my way to the brother of Mebrat in Sembel, I
see a lot of activity at the school of Solomon. It looks as if there is going to
be a party in the big gardens that surround the school. Solomon tells me
there is going to be a campaign called "Eritrea says yes for children", a
program with the aim to put children first, as an investment in the future
generation. The president will come too. So I spend the next hour at the school,
making a lot of pictures. Most of the children wear a uniform. "It is an
expression of equality", one of the teachers explains. Two teachers take me
to the school canteen to drink some tea and chat about my visit to Eritrea and
to their school in particular. I wonder if it is just hospitality or also some
kind of check.
The Keih Bahri Comprehensive Secondary School is
the biggest and one of the oldest schools in Asmara. Then at 10 o'clock there is
an organized movement of hundreds of pupils. We go out to join the campaign.
When President Isaias Afwerki
arrives, the children strike up the national anthem of Eritrea. There are
speeches of the president, UN representatives, and Eritrean officials. The
president himself is handing out flowers to the children. The campaign ends with
a lot of Coca Cola brought in by the Asmara Coca Cola factory. At 11 o' clock
the ceremony is over and I big cleaning operation in the garden follows.
In the afternoon we continue the efforts to get a
permit for Kagnew. After a lot of phone calls and a visit to the office of
handicapped fighters, we have permission to visit the non military part of the
camp. Part of the accommodation that was once used to house the US
military is now used to house badly injured Eritrean soldiers. There are
workshops where these soldiers repair mobility wheelchairs , make prosthesis and
rehabilitate from their injuries. Most of them however will spend the rest of
their life in this center. The visit to the camp is the anti climax of my visit
to Eritrea. Expecting to bring some news and some nice pictures for the Kagnew veterans
in the US, I left the camp with tears in my eyes, having seen so much misery. If
you guys of the former Kagnew Station ever think of serving a good cause, please
think of these new occupants of your former Kagnew Station.
Keih Bahri Comprehensive
Secondary School - Asmara Eritrea.
Pupils of grade 8 in their classroom
- Keih Bahri
Comprehensive Secondary School - Asmara Eritrea
Children at the campaign "Eritrea says yes for children".
President Isaias Afwerki at the campaign "Eritrea says yes for children".
Campaign "Eritrea says yes for children"at
the compound of the
Keih Bahri Comprehensive Secondary School - Asmara Eritrea.
Soldiers repairing mobility wheelchairs in the rehabilitation center.
Eritrean soldier in the rehabilitation center.
Handicapped soldier making prosthesis in the rehabilitation center.