It’s so obvious that many people faced so many problems, for life is always full of ups and downs. Sometimes things go beyond our control, but we should always march forward feeling with confidence hoping that we will succeed. Tekle Akelom is the one who have travelled towards the road of success and finally got what he wanted to achieve. Haddas Eritrea Newspaper has conducted a brief interview with him, and the excerpts follow:
Could you please introduce us with yourself?
I am Tekle Akelom Drar. I was born in Gundet, Adi- Quala sub-zone in 1977. In 1991 I got an accident and lost my sight, and I started my elementary school in Abraha Bahta School of Visually Impaired, a year later.
When did the mishap occur? How old were you at that time, and what do you think could be the cause?
I lost my eyes in 1988; there I was working in my father field and dust particles entered my left eye that results to blindness, and I lost my right eye in 1991.
How did you join Abraha Bahta School of Visually Impaired?
In 1992 my mother and I came to Asmara for treatment, but it was hopeless that Dr. Desbele told my mother to take me to Abraha Bahta School. As soon as I got there I started my school, and I studied there until grade 5. I studied Junior School in Natsnet Junior School and High School in Barka Secondary School. After I took the Matriculation examination I joined the University of Asmara and studied Law.
Could you please tell us about your life in Abraha Bahta School?
All the educational materials are written in braille. It is really difficult to start a new life in a new place being a child and blind where no one dear is around. All the cooperation and care made by the teachers is the biggest thing that couldn’t easily fade away from the book of my memories. I found so many people of my type in the 5 years of my study period; people who fit with me in everything. Because we used to eat and sleep altogether, the love to each other that we started that time is still flourishing. Our aim was that you would only be successful only and only if you embrace with each other and if everything you do is always done with unity and organization.
However, we faced a lot of challenges when we transferred to Junior and secondary schools, for there was shortage of Braille. We had to ask the students to read for us. This problem became the worst when we joined the University of Asmara.
How did you choose to study Law?
It could be due to the problems we had, the only Academic discipline we had to select is Social Science. So the fields you had to choose are very limited, including Law, History, and sociology, Political Science, Education, among others. As a matter of fact, I selected the field Law as my first choice.
When you started working, how did you find it being a Judge?
It’s obvious for someone to face some difficulties, or to sometimes mix things up, but you handle it through time. And I don’t have any doubt that it would be difficult for me.
How do you handle cases?
Everything can be controlled by law. There is nothing you can add whether you are sightless or not. Because every case is directed by law, the solution also comes by law.
Did the job seek help from others, or one person can deal with it by him/herself?
It’s necessary to assist one another. You need help form others; I have a writer and he writes the orders or the final decisions I made.
Being a visually impaired person, is it hard to work in the field of Law?
What makes it hard is the perception or the point of view of people. Basically, there is no problem to make judgment unless justice does not have any association with the eye. Face to face opposition is mouth to mouth exchange, and this exchange has to do something with listening not seeing. The judgment is given according to all the things you have listened from the opponents. For instance, the logo of Ministry of Justice has two balances, and if you see other countries Ministry of Justice’s logos, you can see a judge holding a sword or something sharp with two eyes covered with a scarf. This means that making judgments do not need seeing, and that there is no association between justice and eye.
You have already taken so many different cases, how could you tell us related with your feeling? The cases could be irritating, worrisome, or out of expectation, how did they affect your mind?
Until now I face nothing that discomforts my mind. The work of judgment is not about anxiety. If you are a judge and anxious, there is nothing that differs you from a doctor who do not have the guts to see or treat his patients. A judge must be someone who is considerable and tolerant.
To what sort of people do you feel sympathy?
I feel sorry for those who lose a great deal, just because they know nothing about the techniques of law.
Leaving your work aside, could you please say something about your private life? When did you get married?
I got married in 1994, and I have a child.
As I can see, there is a picture of you portraying that you were swimming, and you told me that you like swimming, could you say something about it?
I used to swim before the accident happened. There was nothing that could give me pleasure and satisfaction other than swimming.
You have someone who always helps you walk, what influences did he have on you?
On the one hand, it could be a pressure for the child; I wouldn’t also take him to everywhere I go if it wasn’t hard for me. Nevertheless, he likes going with me that we become more intimate. On the other hand, we could also see it positively. He gets the opportunity to meet with so many elders and intellectuals; and this helps him to develop his listening, speaking as well as his understanding capacity. I also watch him over in every walks of his life.
At last, what could you say about the society’s perception towards visually challenged people, taking your job in to consideration?
Our society has a caring and understanding behavior towards the visually impaired people. Whenever we want to go somewhere, we always start our journey making a full faith over our society. There are even some people who are too kindhearted, especially mothers. It doesn’t mean that we know everything in the surrounding, like trees, walls, or blocks; we feel something when reaching at one end, so we have to stop and cross the road carefully.
Anything you want to say?
I just want to say may the Almighty God protect us from mishaps.