Beyene barely reciprocated to the salutations of his friends as they arrived at his home during one Saturday afternoon. It was a monthly get together. However, it was coincidental that Beyene was captivated by the English premier league football match he was watching on his Television. “Edu”, Beyene addressed his wife, “please prepare coffee to these naughty friends of mine who would opt to distract my watching this important foot ball match”, he said sarcastically. “Eden, you can as well unplug the television” said Jemal while taking his seat among the rest of the visitors. Eden gave a faint smile for she knows that Beyene would create a commotion for any slight attempt of distraction, whatsoever, while watching the premier league. He would not be concerned for any other show.
Eden is an excellent host. She was already expecting her guests. Yet she could not dare to tell her husband to turn his attention to his friends. They also know him. They therefore have to accept the momentum. Jemal, Kubrom, Silas, Aziz, Semira and Alganesh took their seats in that cozy house of Beyene and family. Aziz was an avid supporter of one of the English premier league team playing against the favorite team of Beyene. It therefore happened that the match was a covert competition between Beyene and Aziz, who also has to indulge himself to that exiting match. Thanks to the amazing feat of the world of technology, one would watch live any match at his home on the television screen that actually takes place thousands of miles away.
The modest rule of the “get together” would oblige the host to prepare soft drinks, bread (kitcha) and roasted wheat and barley. This is coupled with the preparation of the traditional coffee. As usual an assortment of debates about social affairs takes place. This time it was all about sports.
Semira loves cycling. She participated in several cycling competitions earlier when she was in her late teens and early twenties. Unfortunately she has to drop it untimely to pursue her higher studies. However, Semira continues to follow the cycling events in Eritrea.
While the host Beyene and his guest Aziz have locked their horns watching the premier league, the rest have to look for some sort of discussions. Semira was to break the ice. She was so excited when she told them that Eritrean Cyclist Hero Natnaeil Berhane has won an international acclaim following his victory at the Amissa Bongo 2014. I have always dreamed that our boys will Go International. This is the beginning. I hope Natnael or Daniel will eventually make it to the celebrated “Tour de France”. No one seems impressed by her comments. Well Kubrom said, “I never heard of this cyclist merely because I do not like cycling. The only hero I know about is the long distance runner Zeresenai. In any case, he continued, if this young man Natnael is fighting to have our country get its fame in the international arena I would congratulate him. But for me, I like track and field along with football. I never liked any other sport, he concluded. Silas followed the discussions. She said my hobby is art and culture. I would dream if our country will be famous for its tourist attractions. I feel there is a hidden treasure to be revealed in this country. I am sure, she continued, you have heard recently that the secrets of the ancient port of Adulis is being excavated. This is only the beginning. Many more archaeological sites will be excavated. If Kohaito and Belew Kelew will follow suit of Adulis it would be one of the wonders of the world. Well, it appears interesting, but for me sport is all about body building Jemal informed his friends. He had well built body. He visits the gymnasium every day. Jemal wears T-Shirts and short sleeves. At home, Jemal went on, I always watch wrestling. Oh I can’t tell you how much I enjoy it. He would dream to be a champion at the WWE one day. Jemal was seconded by Alganesh who asserted that her favorite sport is wrestling. Alganesh is tall and she owns a heavy weight. When she was young she was always at the forefront to fight not only with girls but also with boys. Sometimes she would even head-butt boys mercilessly knocking them down to the ground. She was the most feared in her surrounding area. The fact is that, she will never fight unless she is provoked. The community knows her as bold and straight forward. Now she is a dedicated mother and gentle. Yet the inherent urge for boiling up when she encounters any delinquent act is still there. If she is enraged only the cursed will be on her way. The result is a foregone conclusion. Her friends could not believe that she became a mother of four. Gently, she would smile. Well times change, she would use to say. As any mother would aspire for, however, she would like to see her children grow strong and intelligent. Who is the boss at your house Semira teased Alganesh. With a faint smile, Alganesh said it is a win-win situation as both I and my husband have to share the responsibilities she concluded.
Eden prepared the coffee. She has to use her wit when timing the pouring of the coffee in the individual cups. There were various cups. Silas warned Eden as usual that she would prefer the traditional cup along with the burning of the incense as she want to smell the odor. Everybody smiled. So why don’t you put your hairs in braids and wear the traditional dress Alganesh asked Silas. I would not hesitate, Silas, responded if it would be allowed even during office hours. I am proud of our Art and culture. I wish I could be a participant to help our tourism potential to Go International she added. What is there to see Jemal asked Silas. How can you see the art if you do not have a profound sentiment of art and adventure? She asked him. You have to know there is wide range of hidden beauty all over the country. It needs preservation and well trained tour guides who can eloquently narrate the historical and archaeological relics that the country is endowed with. Well I would advised you Jemal that unless you practically plan to travel around the country you will never admire the treasures the country has .It is only then that you will be able to feel the rich art and culture you have. Jemal was not impressed. Sarcastically he told Silas that one day she will pay for his travels around the country. If I would have the capacity trust me I will pay for your travels, Silas assured Jemal.
To the utter relief of the group the teams of Byene and Aziz ended in a draw. Had one of the team was to win, both Beyene and Aziz would hurl at each other all cynicisms and criticisms. Now both of them seem to accept the result as they turned their attention to their group. Generally, though, it was such a spectacular play. I was overhearing you; Aziz told the group that you were trying to explain the beauty of your respective hobbies in sports. Nothing is more beautiful like football. It is such an enchanting play, Beyene added. While facing his wife, Beyene said that he would be pleased to see his young boy, Nyat, GO International as a celebrated football striker. He could as well be a celebrated scientist if he intelligently pursues his academic achievement, said his wife. Your pea-brain should have to be able to compare the earnings, Beyene appeared to command his wife. Aziz was to intervene. Beyene is right, he said attempting to offer his modest advice to Eden. In football there are colossal earnings, he seemed to assert. Alganesh felt something glowing inside here as she could not tolerate Byene’s rudeness towards his wife. She wished she could have the opportunity to head-butt or punch him. She had a flash memory of the yester years. Time change, as she use to say, and she humbly intervened and said that Eden’s concern like any other mother is more on the talent of her off springs rather than money. It was a brilliant comment. No one seems to contest her.
In Going International there is more fame in football rather than cycling. The fame of cyclists is once in a while, say seasonal. In football, however, you would see football celebrities at least for nine months in a year. Above all the techniques and the brilliance that one can watch in a football match is unparalleled. In trying to tease Semira, Beyene emphasized that one would not see as many cyclists as footballers and cyclists do not own stadiums, where highly developed countries they are rather museums. Semira indicated that where there is a drive to Go International, even one person could contribute to the fame of his/her country. She made every one tight lipped.
I think it seems that we are disregarding the academia, said Kubrom. I like sports but if there are individuals with incredible talents there is no reason why anyone cannot Go INTERNATIONAL. We can have inventors, academicians and artists. Sure, Silas promptly responded. Everything is an art and when coupled with culture you have all the potential to GO INTERNATIONAL. You seem to be obsessed with this Art and Culture, Jemal appeared to challenge her. It is similar to your obsession with your body building project. It depends how much followers has to every sector. Anyway we all agree that when there is much effort expended on any activity there is all the possibility to GO INTERNATIONAL. The group seems to agree with Silas. It is only a matter of dedicating oneself to the individual hobby, Said Alganesh. Nevertheless , concluded Alganesh, everyone will in unison feel the pride when a talented person will take himself/herself up to the apex of the international arena irrespective of the difference in hobbies.
We did not give chance to Eden to air her opinion as she was busy in preparing food and drinks to entertain us, her hosts Semira alerted the group. Now that she is seated let us listen to her opinion she added.
Eden is naturally a shy woman. Rather forcefully she pointed out that any talent whatsoever as long as it can take one to the international scene should be commended. It is a pride for everyone. However she emphasized that the need for academics should be more focused on. When one is endowed with high IQ, in most cases it will be certain that one will create something that will make one famous for oneself and for the country as well. In conclusion she indicated that she would like to see any of her offsprings or anyone else for that matter, taking the fame in scientific discovery along with any of their sport hobbies. As a young girl Eden was brilliant in natural sciences, especially in Biology. In retrospect she feels the agony why she was not bold enough to protest her parents’ marriage arrangement at an early age. Ever since any mention of education will send her memory back to the past in pain. She has a vivid memory when she was competing for the coveted first prize award. When the unwanted marriage arrangement came in between, her dreams of scholastic achievements were quashed.
Beyene was rather stunned and could not believe his ears to what he were listening. For so many years, he gave less attention to his wife. His partisan perception led him to believe that Eden was simply a nanny for him much short of an intellect. At this moment he felt as if the big bells of the Cathedral were chiming right in his ears to remind him that he has a gem in his house. It was a great revelation. He vowed for himself that he will, in future, initiate any brain enriching idea with his wife.
Alganesh was proud of Eden’s comments and she gave her a big smile. Alganesh has always detested male chauvinism. It is such an intelligent idea Semira remarked and commended Eden for her wisdom. There was a tacit agreement to the comments of Eden.
As it was getting late, Kubrom requested the group the liberty of offering concluding remark. Everyone agreed by nodding their heads. I think it is now time to leave. However let me seize this opportunity to thank the commendable hospitality demonstrated by Beyene and family, he said, Further more he expressed his utter happiness of the intelligent discussions that went on for a couple of hours. He admitted that it helped them to learn a lot from each other. He suggested to the group that such discussions should always continue for they have the responsibility to leave some sort of legacy that could motivate the coming generation.