“You Can’t Buy the Good Personality but I think the People in Eritrea are Born with it” Dilayna Aman
By: Mussie Efriem
Our guests today, Dilayna Aman and Iman Aman, were born and raised in California, USA. They are on their very first visit to Eritrea and recommend to the young Eritrean diaspora to visit their country of origin and be in touch with their roots.
- Welcome to Eritrea, your country of origin. Tell us something about yourselves.
My name is Dilayna Aman, and I am 24 years old. I studied Sociology at the University of California at Berkeley and graduated in 2020. I am studying medicine to become a doctor. And right now, I am preparing for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).
My name is Iman Aman, and I am 23. I was born and raised in the city of Orange, Orange County in California, USA. I also went to the University of California at Berkeley and got a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science. My goal is to get a PhD. in computer science. My sister and I are now in Asmara on our first visit to Eritrea.
- What are your first impressions here?
Iman: This is our first visit to Eritrea. It’s amazing that everybody we see is welcoming, and it’s so nice to speak in our mother tongue. People here are very warm in welcoming us and are very close to one another. Here, in Eritrea, I feel the most peaceful I’ve ever felt.
Dilayna: We’ve found quality people with very nice personalities. Wherever you go here in Eritrea you meet kind people. They treat you like a family, so it feels like we are surrounded by a great family. And it makes us proud to be part of such an amazing group of people. Another thing I’ve noticed is how creative and hardworking everyone is. You can’t buy that good personality but I think the people in Eritrea are born with it.
- Does the reality here match what you were imagining in the USA?
Dilayna: Our parents were always telling us about our home country and we have a community in the USA that gives us a glimpse of Eritrea. So, I did find some of what I expected, but the reality here is much more intense than what I was expecting. I feel a sense of belonging a lot more here than I did before coming here, and that is delightful.
- Tell us about your parents’ role in integrating you with the homeland, and about the Eritrean community in California.
Dilayna: We grew up learning our culture, our values, and our language. Our parents speak only in Tigrinya (our mother tongue) at home so that we could communicate with our families when we come to Eritrea. So my first language was Tigrinya, and I didn’t use English before I started schooling. Our parents also tell us about the history of our ancestors. And in California, we have a very good and strong community. We are not big and so we know one another. We hang out every weekend and are very close to each other like a family. I am very grateful for that as well.
- What places have you visited during your stay here?
Iman: The first place we saw was Dirfo and it was very beautiful. I haven’t seen such fog and mist touch the floor, and the weather was amazing. We’ve also visited the National Agricultural Research Institution in Halhale. We met the director of the institution and he showed us around. We’ve visited Mendefera, the origin of my parents, and Keren, a beautiful and clean city, and many important sites in Asmara. We are now planning to go to Massawa.
- Tell us your plans regarding your education.
Iman: My plan is to have some work experience and skills and have a Ph.D. in computer science. After that, I would love to come here and contribute in terms of technology. My parents worked hard to raise me, educate me, and make me who I am. I would love to pay them back. And helping my country is a huge part of my plan. Every Eritrean is part of the Eritrean history, and it’s my pleasure to be part of this.
Dilayna: I will continue my education in medicine, and after completing my studies, I really want to come to Eritrea and share my knowledge with my people. I consider myself very lucky to have parents who understand very well the importance of education. They invested a lot in our education. My mom has a Ph.D., and she inspired me to focus on education. So I wouldn’t be here without their dedication. I am also proud of my grandparents who were dedicated activists for the freedom of Eritrea during the struggle for independence. We also have aunts and uncles who were freedom fighters. So, I have so many influences on my life that helped me to know Eritrean values and history. A huge part of my plan is to be able to repay my society.
- What message would you give young Eritreans living abroad?
We want to say come here and see your country because you need to be in touch with your roots. Young Eritreans raised abroad, in particular, need to know exactly where they come from because it’s part of their identity. We would love to tell them that if they come here, they will be very proud to be Eritrean and realize how lucky they are to be part of the people.
We thank everybody who has shown us around, especially our cousin, Fuad Kahsay, who made our visit very beautiful. We also thank the Ministry of Information for giving us this opportunity. We’ll go back to America with a sense of pride that we are Eritrean.
Thank you so much!