Our guest today is Mr. Merhawi Tekhlay, a 2011 Pharmacology graduate from the Institute of Technology at Mai Nefhi. Born in Derseney, Gash Barka, Merhawi finished his high school education in Keren and joined the 17th round national service in Sawa. Impressively, Merhawi was one of the top scorers in the ESECE exams, receiving the prestigious ZAGRE award. Subsequently, he joined the Department of Pharmaceutical Science at Mai Nefhi, graduating with distinction. Currently, Merhawi works as a GA in the College of Health. We are delighted to have him share his wonderful story.
Could you tell us a little about your childhood?
As a child I wasn’t any different from my fellow villagers. During my childhood I used to do all the activities the other children my age did – from playing to working. My behaviour was similar to those around me.
When did you start school?
I started when I was about 10 years of age.
How did your yearning to learn develop and grow?
I was always willing to learn. I’d constantly ask my seniors to help me in studying or comprehending what was difficult for me to understand. About my yearning to learn, my father was the main factor. He had a great understanding of the value of acquiring knowledge and its outcome. I even used to get a little jealous when people would talk about those who were highly educated.
How were you as a student in elementary school?
I could say I was an excellent student. While I started at a late age, I received a number of prizes and awards. Back then, I received good grades in generally all the subjects. Yet, during the first semester you’d mainly learn English orally, but when you got to the second semester, it was all about being introduced with the alphabet. Since I missed that part of my education, it restricted me from winning a prize in the second semester of third grade. Afterwards, I never missed a prize again.
What is the secret to your success?
I would say it’s the willingness of doing. If one has willingness of knowing, than nothing can stand in their way. Knowing that, I did learn the second semester of second grade and the first semester of third grade and I had no fear of continuing.
What about middle school?
I proceeded to middle school in Keren. Back then, my main aim was to be an excellent student. I quickly began to understand the overall value of learning, and so I started to put more effort in working hard to be the best.
Tell us about the books you read…
I read a lot actually! I don’t read only for school but to enhance my general knowledge I have and to gain a broader understanding of things.
You have competed in general knowledge competitions, as well?
Yes that’s true. I participated in about ten competitions held in school…I also participated in the regionals about three times and won first prize in two of them.
What was your experience like in Sawa?
If you pay attention you realize the massive opportunities that you come to encounter in Sawa. The fact that you meet with different kinds of teenagers from all over the country with different abilities, mentalities, hobbies…who are all very smart, with various ways of studying…it can inspire you and they become your role models to work hard to be the best.
What pushed you to choose pharmacology as your main field of study?
It was always a great interest of mine to know how things bring about changes once they enter the human body. Questions like “how” or “why” have intrigued me since I was in eleventh grade.
How was learning pharmacology for you?
It takes one about five years. I could say it’s a broad field of study that requires a great amount of passion and commitment.
What do you do you think is the main responsibility of a pharmacist?
It’s not only about preparing, distributing and developing medicines. It’s much wider than that. We haven’t reached the stage yet here in our country, but in abroad they learn something called clinical pharmacy or “Doctor of Pharmacy.” its benefit is to help doctors treat patients; a pharmacist is similar. They all work as a team alongside of laboratory technicians in treating and curing patients.
You teach pharmacology at the College of Health…how do you find teaching?
Very well actually. It’s the skill that I am most fond of. Nevertheless, our students being amazingly smart is what pushes us to become more interested in teaching them.
How do you find teaching students of your same generation?
To tell you the truth, we being the same generation is the best part, since you can be free and more comfortable when you teach. It’s easy to understand one another because we both have the same interests and feelings. Factually, they constantly research and examine a lot. You often learn more from them than what you teach them.
What experiences have you gained as a teacher?
The one thing I realized is that there is always more to learn.
What helps you succeed with students?
It’s all about being punctual. Being on time is a crucial issue for doctors and pharmacists because even a second matters greatly to the life or death of a patient.
Tell us about your research…
My colleagues and have done about ten research papers… I led two of them and published them in the International Journal Post. It’s a Netherlands-based magazine that publishes research conducted by various institutions on many topics. It provides specialists the opportunity to publish and share their findings with a broad audience.
What were the general topics covered within your papers?
They were mainly concerned with pharmacology…its current procedures and the obstacles faced in developing clinical pharmacy. That magazine has its own requirements, therefore it isn’t easy in getting a chance to publish your work in it. Since it is an international publication, it challenges your capacity to reach the understanding of a massive audience with a range of points of view.
What do think is the importance of research and examining within society?
Indeed, it’s very important. First, you’re obeying the regulations of science when it comes to finding out how and why things come into being and their correct means of use. To that, it also helps you guarantee your future success with factual proof.
What inspired, or inspires, your research endeavours?
What inspired me was nothing but people. Specifically, doctor and pharmacist Azieb Oqbagebriel and Mr Tekhleab Gebrehiwet.
Looking back, would you say that you used your time properly during your childhood or that being a child took the best of you?
Yes! Definitely I would say that. I never stopped working hard and looking forward. I believe that it is not over yet, and there isn’t any time to waste…my progress will continue throughout my life.
Anything you’d like to add?
Of course I can’t overlook thanking my parents and siblings who never gave up on me and played a great role in my success.
Also, my wife who supported me through thick and thin, as well as those who’ve stood alongside me when I needed them.
It’s been a great pleasure talking with you Mr Merhawi…
The pleasure is all mine!
Compiled By: Zahra Ahmed Baduri