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Memories of Keren

We were the first teachers to come to Keren fromIndia . We came in August 1966. That batch of teachers included Mr.Khanna, Mr. Verma and Mr Gurmit Singh. The others came later. When we came there were 5 Peace Corps teachers.

We have vague memories of the first batch of students. Among the names which we remember are the 12th grade students. There were the following: Arhat, Zeinab and Fathma. There was also one Idris. He suddenly disappeared and was rumored to have gone to Nakfa to join the ELF. This was probably in early 1967. Sometime that year or early 1968, we returned from a weekend trip to Asmara by bus. As we got down at the circle, we saw about 10 or 12 bodies laid down on the side of the road. We heard that these were the rebels who had been killed by the commandos. We don't know when the bodies were removed but that was the last time such an incident happened. The authorities must have realized that it was not good publicity when there were so many foreigners around.

Those two years were reasonably quiet. There was no curfew. Very soon, the American teachers were gone. More teachers came fromIndia and then we had teachers from Sri Lankaand the Philippines . Our second son was born in 1968 at the Keren hospital. The school had a new building. Around that time, Emperor Haile Selassie visited the school and renamed it Atzie Dawit Secondary School . We even got him to autograph a picture of him which had with us. He was gracious enough to do it.

Very soon, there were many changes. Ato Mahmoud got transferred. All of the Indian teachers from the first batch got transferred toAsmara . I was the Director for a short time before I too moved to Haile SelassieSecondary School in Asmara in 1971. We lived there for a year. After finishing our contract, we left Ethiopia in 1972 and came to the United States . We started teaching with the Philadelphia School District in 1973.

We have fond memories of Keren. Those were, without any doubt, the best six years of our lives.

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