Our guest today, Tsgerieda Gebrehiwet, is a passionate painter and pharmacist. As a student, in addition to her education, she spent a lot of her time helping out in her family’s business.
- Would you please introduce yourself to our readers?
I was born and raised in Dongolo Lae’lay, had my primary school education there, and attended junior and secondary school in Gindae, which is around 4 km from Dongolo Lae’lay. I went to Sawa as a member of the 23rd round and then joined the College of Health Sciences in Asmara and studied pharmacology. Now, I am working as a pharmacist at Halibet Referral Hospital.
- What inspired you to be a pharmacist?
Since my childhood, I have had the desire to study health. When I joined the College of Health Sciences, I became very eager to study medicine and was attracted to pharmacology. I started thinking about the possibility of opening my own drug store and giving clinical service to my clients, and I figured out that to fulfill this dream I needed to join the Department of Pharmacy. And when I joined the department I loved it.
- Tell us about your academic background.
I was an excellent student, if I may so so. My parents understood very well the importance of education and always told us to focus on education. I was paying attention to my studies while at the same time helping my family at their store and cafe in Dongolo. My elder brother used to look after the shop but after he left Dongolo I took full responsibility for running the business. Since then I’ve been more responsible in managing my time. I was very busy in the daytime and, so, had to reschedule my study time to night time. And that made me a very responsible person.
- You are also an artist…
That’s right. Art is also something that has always been inside me. From my childhood, I’ve always wanted to be an artist and I started off by drawing with a pencil. I always drew my own and my classmates’ drawing assignments in my academy class starting from elementary school. And as I got older that passion for art grew inside me. When I went to college, I started to take art classes at Satreb Art Institute on top of my studies in pharmacy. However, I couldn’t cope with the intensity of my college studies and schedule, so I dropped out of the art class for a while and waited until I completed my college studies. In 2016, I started taking classes in art again and attended for two and half years and graduated with a diploma.
- How do you manage to do two jobs?
My first career choice is pharmacy; so, it is given priority. In the evening, I work as a part-timer at a drugstore. So I have to spend all the rest of my time in my painting studio at home. And I manage my time by dividing it into all of these tasks.
- Tell us more about your paintings.
Most of the time I use pencil drawing, and I like drawing people’s portraits. I like to remake old and damaged images that are difficult to scan, and I do this according to the requests of my clients. It’s super-realism type. I also use acrylic painting and watercolor, and my paintings reflect Eritrean history, culture, and tradition. In some of my works, I try to create a fusion of modern and Eritrean cultures. In addition, I also paint signboards and billboards of companies and spiritual paintings at churches.
- Who is your model?
For sure it’s my elder brother, Dawit, an aeronautical engineer. Like me, he went through the same experience, and he was an excellent student. He took care of his studies and handled the additional task of our family’s business. I grew up looking at his dedication, and that inspired me to believe that I could do the same. When he went to college I was fond of him and from then on, I started having a clear vision of going to college. My parents are also very supportive. They believe in me and gave me painting tools because they sensed my childhood passion for painting.
As a matter of fact, I don’t remember any significant challenge, and I think that’s because of my family’s endless support. I don’t have sufficient time to do my paintings, and the paint and some painting tools are expensive. But my family is always there to help me with the challenges. I thank them for their unlimited support.
- Any message you would like to give to women?
We are part of the society and we need the society. In order to be useful to the society we have to be educated and determined to make our vision a reality. And if you work hard success is inevitable. Families also have to identify their kids’ talents and support them to develop their talents.