Story of an Eritrean freedom fighter. She followed the step of every young Eritrean heart to the fields just when she was a kid. Instead of the hide and seek games, she was running around in the field to make sure that she was giving her all to see free Eritrea. She followed her dad, her brothers and most of her uncles, on her dad’s and mom’s side, many of whom paid their precious lives. But she didn’t just come home with free Eritrea she wanted to bring, she came home with a life time profession. Jurom Amlesom, spent her childhood in the field fixing big cars which were the best transportation of the time. Working over 40 years as a mechanic, Jurom is now working at the Anberbeb Sh.Co as the Head of the Depatment of technical services for Yamaha.
- -Joining the armed struggle at a young age
I went to the field when I was just 12 in 1977. It is surprising to see that little kids would think to go out of their homes, away from their families to fight for their country and people. However, that was everybody’s mentality back then. We saw how the enemy was destroying our homes and killing our family and friends. Everyone in every age was affected by these dreadful events that were happening around them. I would say that it wasn’t so surprising to see kids joining the army. Not only that, most of my family were in the field, my father with his sons and his brothers and my mother’s brothers as well. I was the eldest from those who were left in Asmara. For me it was just natural to go where my family were. We are a family of 13martyrs just on my dad’s side. I remember I told my younger sister that I was going away to the field, not to inspire her to follow me but to take care of our younger siblings. But my family going to the field didn’t stop with me; my two young brothers followed me, and one of them was martyred besides our elder brother.
- -Your time in the field?
I was supposed to join the Red Flower, like most of the kids who went to the field. But I refused. I wanted to contribute all I got just like everybody who went to Sahl. So, I got my military training and was assigned to the then Ministry of Agriculture in Ginadae. We made jams for the divisions. It was a field that required almost 24hrs of nonstop work. While working at the factory, there was a strategic withdrawal that resulted in our reassignment. Then I was assigned to the Department of transportation of the time where I received the training for the career that I still have. We received training on driving and auto mechanics at the technical school department. After successful finishing our courses, I was assigned to work in Arag with people who created a great work opportunity for me from day one. We had great teachers and administrators who were interested to uplift our skills. I have been working as a mechanic for over 40 years. I am now working at the Anberbeb Company as the Head of the Department of technical services for Yamaha.
- -How efficient was the maintenance of the cars during at the armed struggle?
Transportation is the most vital not only in wars but in the world in general. It was a matter of life for us to deliver the best we got to fix the cars that were used on the ground. We didn’t have the needed materials to make our job easier but that never stopped us from doing efficient work. The job could be hard at times but we collaborated most of the time. So I would say that we had the most devoted mechanics who gave their all to do the best job.
- -As a female freedom fighter please say something about our heroines.
I don’t think that any words could ever describe Eritrean female freedom fighter. They had to put up with the circumstances that nature gives them. Perfectly handling that, they had to make themselves equally strong not to fall behind their male co-fighters. They believed that they were no less than their brothers. It is easier said than done, but they made sure that nothing stopped them from fighting besides their brothers to get their freedom at any cost. They were the ones who were leading the divisions, making sure that everyone was on the right spirit by lecturing them and guiding them. Some of them fought while carrying a child inside their womb. What the Eritrean female fighters did is unbelievable even to history. Plus I want to let you, young girls, think about what these mothers and sisters did to accomplish what they dreamed of, create a free Eritrea. And I advise you to take care of yourselves by creating a good future. To know your rights, say no to discrimination. You can become anything you dream of as long as you work for it.
- -After independence…
I was in Anberbeb back in the field as well. After independence, I was assigned to work at the Maintenance Control Department. I worked at the department for over five years but I wanted to go back to being a mechanic. I wanted to do more. I like to evolve in the technical work; that is what satisfies me. Then, I went back to repairing and renewing engines and basically do the technical job.
Anberbeb is an agent for three different companies: Toyota, Yamaha, and Komatsu. For a company that is fit to be an agent for such big companies, it needs to have qualified mechanics and technicians who are willing to upgrade their skills. After that my colleague Solomon and I started a department for the Maintenance and Service of the Yamaha and worked there as a technician.
- -We don’t see many female mechanics…
You are right. People think that it is a job that should only be done by males, which is totally wrong. I truly love my profession and I want to continue upgrading myself every time. We are in a digitalized world and we need to work hard to cope up. I have had many courses and I am still taking different ones to make myself better. We have few great mechanics and technicians who are still working in different sectors. We even had numerous great students in Anberbeb who didn’t continue due to different reasons. Honestly speaking, we do lack the good number in this specific field. I hope that we could do numerous campaigns in expanding this field.
- -You are also a member of the National Union of Eritrean Women?
I am. I am the member of the Federation. I have various associations under which I guide. I also do numerous campaigns on different topics to raise awareness in females.
- -How do you manage work and motherhood?
I am blessed with my kids; they are my friends and my advisors. I have three kids, one is married with two kids. Basically I am a lucky grandma. My kids have never been a challenge for me. They have supported me in every way and I am grateful to them all. They have helped me and they are the reason I got to be where I am today. It is important to be open with your kids; that is what I believe. Also I have been lucky with all my administrators who have worked hard for my better future. And also I have good friends; Major Tsehaynesh Tsegai and Major Aregash Eiab. They are among the people who inspire me the most to face everything that comes my way and deal with. Also the stage I am at is the outcome of all the people who have contributed in my greatness such as Bruno Teiza and Ghirmai Abrhe the manager for the Anberbeb Sh.Co, they have always found a way to upgrade my skills and positions. I would like to thank them all.