In June, 1998, I was living a normal life close to my sister in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Following the ignition of a border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the government of Ethiopia announced in the national tv that all Eritreans be registered by going to the nearest police station. The next day I went to a station in my area and the police kept me the whole day there. At dusk, the police told us to board their pickup trucks and took us to Shegolle Detention Camp. We spent there the whole night. In the morning, big Mercedes trucks came to transport the nearly 2000 detainees to Fitche Detention Camp, a town 100 miles north of Addis.
After a month, they moved us to Blate Detention Camp located in the south of the country. We stayed in Blate for about a year in a strictly controlled rural area. We tried to keep ourselves busy by organizing indoor and outdoor activities. In Blate, there was epidemic like cholera and malaria that killed so many detainees.
Then, they moved us to Dedessa Detention Camp which is located in the west of the country. After five years of detention, a peace agreement was signed between the two countries. In Dedessa, first contact with Aby was made. In the 2000 US election season, contact with Aby became stronger. Many messages were flowing and became the driving force for our release.
UNHCR arrived at the camp and started resettlement process to a third country. Around 250 detainees were allowed to migrate to different countries – US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. I was resettled in the US with my family in 2005.
Life in America started in Harrisonburg, Virginia. My wife and I started working and my kids started school. My first job was in a supermarket close to my residence. The second job that started in 2008 was as a medical interpreter.