Living abroad, one may not be easily quenched of the thirsty of being in one’s homeland. But, such feelings of homesickness could of course be softened through revisiting Eritrea. It is to alleviate the flame of love that burns them running deep inside, to get rid of the shiver they feel for being out of their warm home and more importantly to have company of fellow nationals, that diaspora Eritreans continued to come to Eritrea during the summer time and during a number of festive occasions just to be part of the blessings Eritrea has to offer.
It has become a normal happening to see youths, parents, kids and grandparents and generally people from all walks of life flocking to Sawa and making tour de Eritrea along nationals inside the country just to observe development accomplishments that have been registered to date.
Even though the Eri-youth festival is of the youths and for the youths, it has become an event where everybody could see and learn from youths’ talent in different disciplines. As usual, in the 5th Youth Festival, youths’ from abroad staged varied artistic shows. The artistry includes music shows, photograph exhibitions and much more of what they accomplished in educational carriers.
Like in the 4th youth Festival held in 2010, the EriAm sisters and Njoy did it again in Sawa. They just rocked the audience with the ever vivid performances and their voices echoed with undiminished love of nation. The vibrant activisms of the youths of this country, the sharing of experiences, the respect of talents and appreciation to work accomplishments of their fellow youths inside the country, the nostalgic feeling one could see on their faces, the eagerness to learn their tradition very apparently seen in their keenness to dance and the very focused observations they made are indications of their admiration to their loved country. Being an Eritrean is, for them, a rare and unique endowment only lucky ones could have.
Mr. Robel Yohannes, an Eritrean from Kenya, pointing out that he had been to six or seven African countries where the citizens of the countries he visited have no clue of what is happening in their country and where the main streets are usually locked to give services only for the leaderships, describes the reason form making visits to Eritrea in simple words saying: “It is just love of a nation and making visits as much as possible is indeed not a big thing.” He added that what he sees in Eritrea is a depiction that the noble cause Eritrean Martyrs have paid for the social justice is being honored for everybody is keeping one’s promise to live up to their trust.
As regards the 5th Eri-Youth Festival Mr. Robel said that the spirit of cooperation among nationals and not giving up due to transient problems prompts any national to make visits to the homeland and to be part of the youth festival. Speaking of the role of youths, he shared his opinion saying: youths brought independence and safeguarded its sovereignty, have been working for its economic growth, and they have now been firmly standing to make contributions through pursuing educational career. Thus, he said: “As Eritreans, we shoulder responsibility to assist the families of the fallen heroes, to exploit Eritrea’s tourism assets and to express love of our nation.”
One could guess from all the shows staged in different pavilions of Sawa that the preparations that have been made to vividly embrace the youth festival were very well-organized in all aspects.
“With foresight, we make ample strides forward”—a theme chosen for this 5th Eri-youth Festival indeed reflects to the commendable contributions youths of the country have made and the continued efforts to do so in different development programs.
In this year’s youth festival, a number of youths from America, Europe, Australia, Middle East, and Africa have participated. Even though there were parents and relatives who accompanied them in the very refreshing and very inspiring festival, youths from abroad have also got company of fellow youths from inside the country. It is this very unforgettable experience they cherished in their mind that motivates them to come time and again. It was not for the spiritual satisfaction they gain, they may get what material possessions they aspire to have in the countries they reside in. But, noting compares to the very cultural wealth they always find in their country.
It is not a surprise to see keenness of Eritrean youths in learning the diversified and yet similar cultural shows staged in Sawa grounds. Some of the youths just wanted to dance and others get entertained of everything they observe for it is a wealth they could not find elsewhere. Soliana Tareke, who came from Saudi Arabia to participate in the youth festival for the first time, said about being part of the youth festival: “We all gathered up for good reason and I love the journey. Seeing the whole country and the Sawa festival makes me very exhilarated.” Solina was not able to single out what really impressed her. “Everything impressed me but I cannot mention any. Meeting Eritreans from all over the world, I just felt good. I have been waiting for this moment since very long time,” she said: “God willing, I am looking ahead to come in the next youth festival of 2014.”
Every Eritrean who visits the Youth festival wishes to come again in such events. Ever since the 1st festival held in 2004, a number of youths’ have been part of the festival for the 5th time. Some of the youths from abroad have been to Eritrea for a number of times but not in Sawa festival. But, they have realized their wishes of going to Sawa have come true in this year’s festival. They express their feelings saying that it is lovey, wonderful and a special experience for they do not get used to it. For them it is a gathering to remember for years to come.