The value of a family is so great in every corner of the world, but the value of mother is the most treasured. We have here with us an exemplary Eritrean mother. The moment her husband joined the armed struggle for freedom, Mrs. Tiebe understood the meaning of self-reliance and fully initiated her energy into raising her family on her own. She has worked her way up from scratch to owning a vegetable garden and producing chicken.
Q&A shares with you the motivational story of Mrs. Tiebe Redae.
- -Tell us a little about you?
Thank you for having me. I am from Adi Bus in the sub-zone of Dubarwa. I got married young to Mr. Gebremika’el Kflesion and we were blessed with five children. Since we were under the Derg regime we were not lucky enough to enjoy the love of the family we had. It was a time when every Eritrean family was denied the right to live a peaceful life. I remember that my husband was facing challenges on his way to work.
The derg regime did not only affect specific areas it destroyed all the social, economic and political ties of the society. This led to the separation of families because they could not live under the suppression and dominance of the Derg regime. Some went abroad and some others joined the armed struggle, and the rest were working as collaborator to the freedom fighters. Later, my husband left to join the battle fields in Sahl. Being left alone with five children was another battle for me. This time not only did I have to be the mother, but the “man” of the house as well.
Responsibilities became hard for me that I finally decided to go back to my village. I thought it would be easier to be in an area where I grew up, but that didn’t seem to work either. But I couldn’t just give up. I was in no position to just give up. I had a family to raise. I moved to Sudan with my kids to face life. There, I had to face life working at whatever jobs I could find besides selling our traditional food such as Shiro, Berbere, and Enjera. But finally, the long awaited dream happened; Eritrea was freed. And I came here with my family.
- -Did life get better after liberation for you?
It definitely wasn’t for me. Every family paid their precious one to have free Eritrea today, and my husband was one of those precious ones. I came back in 1997 and settled in Tesenei until I moved to Asmara in 1998 when the First Ethiopian offensive happened. Many Eritreans left their homes to protect their families at that time. I had to do the same for my family’s sake.
Yet again, I started a new life in Asmara braiding hairs. However, it was not a stable job and it was not enough to cover all of my family’s expenses. I wanted to have a stable income, and I thought producing chicken could be a great start. The Eritrean government does a great help to those who are willing to work, which creates a good opportunity for them. I got a thirty- thousand Nakfa loan from the saving and loan program in 2003 which I used to buy nine hundred chickens. That is the turning point and the first step I took to have a stable life for me and my family.
- -How did you get into gardening, Mrs. Tiebe?
I have never liked to sit around and chitchat; I have always liked to work. There was an abandoned area behind Expo, it was of garbage. At the beginning, I was just cleaning it because it was dirty and it’s near my place. But then I thought that if it is cleaned it is the best ground to grow vegetables. This undeniably requires a great amount of budget, so I sold my jewelries and rented a dozer to help me with the work and finally made it ready for farming. I had to also dig a waterwheel for the garden on which I spent a hundred thousand Nakfa. Now I am able to produce different kinds of vegetables and cereals.
Also recently, I took another loan from the saving and loan program to start cattle raring but it didn’t go well since I have not found a steady stall for it.
- -Care to share any story during your journey to get here?
I have numerous memories; some of them, I lough about and some bring pain. For instance, people used to run away from me when they saw me after I was done with cleaning the garden because most of the time I was covered in mud. Which by t h e way is very green at the moment.
- -What is the motive behind your efforts in life?
Everywhere, mother is the link that holds her family. And under any circumstance, especially in our culture, she is obliged to take care of her family. The Eritrean are known for their strong beliefs in overcoming challenges, even in the armed struggle. Besides, I fully understand the value of self-reliance which our great grandparents and our freedom fighters upheld. So it is not solely my career but it is a lesson that I have gained from former heroine mother and hero fathers.
- -Anything you might want to add?
We Eritreans have gone through a lot of challenges to reach where we are today. Humans are created to experience the hardest and happiest days of their life. So whatever challenge we face we have to know tomorrow is the brightest day. Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to the Ministry of Agriculture, the saving and loan program, my employees and my children for their endless support and discipline.
- -Thank you for your time.