Born and raised in Mensura, Satellite Aregay went to Primary and Junior schools in Mensura sub-zone. Since there wasn’t any secondary school in her locality, she joined Aqordet Boarding School to begin a decisive journey that paved the road to her success. Her parents supported her to excel at school. She is now head of the Veterinary Science Department at Halhale Agricultural Dairy Farm.
Let’s begin with your name. Why did your parents call you Satellite?
My father was a freedom fighter. He was listening to radio programs while he was in the trenches and he learned about satellites and other technological breakthroughs in the 1980s. This was an overwhelming experience for him and he vowed to his friends in the battle fields that he would name his first born child “Satellite” – a human Satellite. He believed very strongly that if human made artificial satellite is making huge contribution in communications, aviation and military works, there is no reason why their children in the post-independence period would not make a difference in everything. That is why he called me “Satellite”.
So, have you become the satellite your father aspired?
I may not have achieved much, but I am making efforts to upgrade my skills in my profession. My father is very pleased with the progress I have made. But this is not the end of the journey and I am looking forward to attaining more success.
Tell us about your schooling and the progress you made after going to college?
I had a big dream in my early childhood. I was very keen to attend school and reach a higher level of achievement. Supporting my family was the utmost priority for me. After completing my 12th grade classes in Sawa, I joined Halhale College of Agriculture. Since I had accumulated some knowledge about veterinary science from my aunt, who is a Veterinary Science expert, I was very interested to study this field. My dream came true and I studied Veterinary Science for four years at college. I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in 2016 and am now looking forward to developing professionally by going to graduate school.
How helpful were the courses you attended?
The courses were very helpful. But there were, of courses, challenges in implementing the theoretical knowledge on the ground. The practical courses I attended for two years at Elabered Farm helped me in mastering the necessary skills in veterinary science. I am very lucky to work at Halhale Dairy Farm, which is a kind of a college where I have been honing my skills. The practical courses were more interesting than the theory. Practicing on different cow species helped me acquire an all rounded knowledge about the characteristics and advantages of select species of dairy cattle in increasing production. I am now working as head of Veterinary Science Department at Halhale Agricultural Dairy Farm.
Do you think you have turned your dream into reality?
I am lucky to work in a field of my interest. From the very beginning I have been assigned to work as a veterinarian. Working at a big dairy farm that has a bright prospect is very encouraging. I often think of the contribution the institution will make toward augmenting meat and dairy production, and this is what makes me consider myself very lucky to work in such a big national institution. With the knowledge I have accumulated over the years I have worked as a veterinarian, I can now make a contribution.
Were you a clever student?
The credit for my academic achievement goes to my parents. My parents were the vehicle in the journey I traveled at all levels of my education. My father helped me when I was a primary school student, and this was a solid foundation for me. I was a prize winner in all my schooling, from primary all the way through secondary level of education. My siblings have also followed in my foot steps in their academic career.
What was the challenge of going to the boarding school as a female student, learning far away from home?
We were 12 female students from Mensura sub-zone, who joined Aqordat Boarding Secondary School, and I was the only student that reached this level of achievement. Some students feared that they could not attend school far away from home and withdrew. Their parents were not also willing to send their female children to a distant school. But the strong interest I had to attend school and the commitment and encouragement of my parents and that of my teachers at the boarding school were the reasons for my success. My experience living in a community at the boarding school was also quite helpful for my studies in Sawa.
What are the most engaging activities at the Dairy Farm?
A total of 80 veterinary science graduates are currently working at Halhale Agricultural Dairy Farm. Sixty of them have degree while the rest 20 have diploma. There are six sections but all the activities are done collectively. Even though I am head of Veterinary Science Department, I equally share the work load with my colleagues. Some of us take care of the newly born calves, others observe the conditions of pregnant cows and cows that have delivered while the rest monitor the general health conditions of the cattle. We work hard to become versatile instead of confining ourselves to one specialty. We are all made to work in the other sections after staying in one section for about two years. We also give vaccination to the dairy cattle at the institution and cattle of the farmers in the areas around Halhale. We are at work 24/7.
Any message you would like to convey to female students?
The message I have is not only for female students or women workers but for all youth. Every individual should have an interest in agriculture. Given the fact that around 80% of the Eritrean population depends on agriculture, the knowledge and awareness of the youth about farm activities need to be enhanced to help develop the agricultural sector. Women should be committed to work in areas that are traditionally considered men’s and should make use of all the available opportunities.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us.