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Book details
  • Genre:BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY
  • SubGenre:Personal Memoirs
  • Language:English
  • Pages:196
  • Format:Paperback
  • Paperback ISBN:9781667841120

My Life

by Mehari Ocbamichael

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Overview
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.
Description
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.
About the author
I was born in Asmara, Eritrea in 1960 and moved to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the age of 2 to live with my grandparents. When my grandparents died, I returned back to Asmara in 1974 to my parents joined Haile Selassie the 1st High School. In 1977, because of the ongoing war, I dropped out of school to join the public service to my country. In 1989, I moved to The Sudan and continued my education, some High School and post-secondary. I went to Computer Man College in Khartoum for one year. After that I moved to the United States of America and lived for about three years. In 1996, I went back to Ethiopia for health reasons. In Addis Ababa, I met my wife, Tirhas, in 1997. In 1998, my daughter, Yordi, was born. When my daughter was a month old, a border war erupted between Eritrea and Ethiopia. The EPRDF-led government in Ethiopia announced that all Eritreans should be registered by going to the nearest police station. When I reported to the police station, I was detained which lasted 5 years. The border war between the two countries was the main reason for all this. When the war ended in December, 2000, an agreement was signed between the two countries which stipulated release of the detainees in both countries. Some of the detainees in Ethiopia, including me, chose to settle in a third country and were transferred to a refugee camp. I stayed in Wa'ela Nihbi Refugee Camp for 3 years. After that my whole family was allowed to immigrate to the US that we live in.
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