Date: Friday, 07 September 2018
The last few months have been a time of celebration of peace and friendship for Eritreans. Now, it is time for the country to celebrate its unity, showcase its resources and enjoy brotherhood as one.
The annual National festival of Eritrea began on 31st August. Since its opening, the grounds of Expo have been filled with thousands of visitors from all walks of life.
Q&A made its way to one of the sites where the six regions of the country are showcasing their culture and natural resources. The regions have been working hard to add glamour to this year’s national festival to reflect Eritrea.
Anseba the river for development is the theme we have chosen. We felt like, that is the best way to showcase our region. We have displayed a map of our region to show its location. We include nine sub zones and three ethnic groups’ 81% of which lead farming life while 19% are active in business. We have tried to display our region on a painting. So, we have c h o s e n p i c t u r e s which can best describe each town. And we have put on the bottom of the pictures what the town is best known for. For instance, Elabered sun-zone is known for its farming areas and that is what we have painted here and we have the products of agro-industry, such as oranges, papaya, and tomatoes that it is famous for. Also, we brought seedlings of papaya and orange. Again, Geleb sub-zone, the embankment that we see on the painting, was made by the community. The stone we have here is a natural marble stone that is found in Belta in Geleb. We also have brought the fruits and seedling of avocado which grow in Geleb.
The painting of a cow that we have here represents the 25 cows donated to the Haboro sub-zone community by the Ministry of Agriculture, which have grown to 50 now. When a cow gives birth to a female calf, the new born is given to another farmer. That is how they are multiplied.
We have prepared a theme that can best describe our region. The paintings and sculptures represent the times from the start of the armed struggle to the national development journey Eritrea went through following its independence. Our paintings on the wall are connected like a chain, and tells the story of Idris Awate’s firing of the first bullet at the mountains of Adal, and end up with the students who graduated from the same area which was turned to an educational center in Sawa, and now working at the Gerset dam using the modern farming machineries. Gerset dam is built to save water in the region and today the students who work there have modernized the traditional way of farming.
We have also displayed here fruits and cereals that are grown in our region. Again, we have brought with us different traditional kunama food and medicine from trees. Those natural remedies are used in our daily life to treat ailments that range from simple headaches to serious diseases.
We have participated in the past festivals. What makes this year’s d i s p l a y unique is that we have focused on cereals that are becoming e x t i n c t . These are the type of cereals that require yearlong rain, which is in short supply. Due to this those types of cereals are about to disappear. We are here to raise awareness of our community on how to experiment on those types of cereals, on their breeding and other mechanism to keep them alive.
This year, the southern region has brought to share with the audience farming products, sculptures, wheat products, and traditional customs. Anything that would represent the region is here in this hall.
Every year we come to participate at the festivals. We use many forms to showcase our products. This year we have chosen to display sea and farming products on a boat which I think is attracting the audience at a first glance. We also have the tourism attraction beach painting on our walls and historical places. We also have the aquarium to which children are attracted about which they ask many questions.
We also have displayed here different plastic tubes from the tube and plastic factory. We also have the canning factory in Massawa, water melons and vegetable which grow in the region. Our region has places with altitude of the highest to the lowest which means we can grow a variety of products.
We have three departments to present-sea products and farming products as well as traditional tools that the ethnic groups use in their daily activity. These include kas a cup, which gets connected to the branch of a tree that can hold the traditional natural drink we get from the palm trees. The cup has a cover which we call Ankbta. We also have another cup we call Yglenta with which we drink the duma, the natural drink we get from a palm tree. Our region is famous for its palm trees; people use it to make traditional houses and sleeping rugs.
It has taken more than three months to prepare for this festival. We have also presented pictures that demonstrate our traditional, farming, coastal and historical activities. We have brought sand and stones from the beach so that this place could look and smell like the beach.
We have on our walls world famous art-deco buildings which are registered in the UNESCO
We are here to represent the beauty and historical places of our region. Not only the beauty but, the ongoing developmental journey our region is undergoing as well. Among many things, the Central region has also brought to showcase the dairy products from its factories.
Also, at the agricultural section, we have here different types of potatoes, apples, peach and olives. What we want to stress more is the newly introduced olives from Tunisia. It has been productive and over our expectations this year. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to extract oil from it as we lacked machineries. Hopefully, we would like to let people know the health benefits of olive oil that we just produce within the country and people would start to use them.