Eritrean children "SUN SHINES ON THEIR FUTURE"
This was the motto of Dr. Joyce Blueford when she
presented her project briefly at the Event titled "Silicon
Valley Leaders Come Together in Support of Math/Science Nucleus' NetAfrica Eritrea Science Project." The event
celebration/fund raising was held at the Fair child
auditorium at Stanford University on Dec 8, 2001. I was
hesitant to go at first, but it was worth every minute of it.
On two corners of the hall there were the traditional Eritrean coffee roasting (bun meglaw). Two beautiful Eritrean woman, dressed in traditional Zuriya, roasted coffee and served it to the guests of the event. The aroma of the coffee roasting filled the place. Some of the guests were familiar with tradition. One of the Guests, Dr. Mary Lake Polan, a physician at Stanford University, who had visited Eritrea, had the pictures that she took displayed on the walls on the reception area. There were young Eritreans, professional and distinguished guests.
The elements that surprised me in the evening was how much the peace corp was part of the coordinators and guest. Either they were members of the corps or were influenced by a corp member. It was mentioned several times during the evening gala. As the evening went along, a young man, by the name of Milan Selassie, introduced the senator Tom Campbell, Milan is an eloquent speaker. He is a financial consultant for Solomon Smith Barney, a member of Citicorp. Milan talked about his life briefly. He is a Duke Graduate and was a member of the campaign mgrs for Tom Campbell. Milan introduced the Senator as kind,honest,compassionate and dedicated to any cause that he takes. In one part of his introduction he used an expression "how can you introduce your brother to your parents." Prof. Campbell, a law Prof at Stanford university, gave a brief story on how he got involved with Eritrea. He was a member of the US house rep on African subcommittee. He volunteered to be a member. Tom Campbell stated, " most of my colleagues were drawn by duty to Paris and so on, but I thought I would do good if I specialized in an area few Congressman will be spending time on" he went on to say "If America devoted a little bit of time and little bit of its resources to work with people who are here to work for themselves, imagine the good we would do and just ask, hypothetically, suppose that would have been our foreign policy do you think we will be in state we are right now in the world". Senator Campbell was able to give a certain information that he obtained from the his friends in congress regarding the situation in Eritrea. One of the things he mentioned was, he was on a "fact finding" mission in 21 countries in Africa. Out of all this countries he chose Eritrea. in law and economics. Actually, Mr. Campbell and his wife will be traveling to Eritrea this week to teach in Asmara University for the next 4 weeks. Susan, the Senator's wife, will be teaching university administration and fund raising while the Prof will be teaching law and economics. It may not be a lot of time, but the effort put by the congressman is commendable. As he put it, this time is special why is it special because the people of Eritrea are special. At the end of his speech he said he had thanksgiving 1997 in Eritrea he will have Christmas 2001 in Eritrea and continue to go back to Eritrea, which he is proud to call, second home.
Dr. Mary Lake Polan spoke briefly. Dr. Polan visited Eritrea
and looked at the health care issue for woman. Right now
Dr. Polan has designed a project and recruited three of her
colleagues and manage to get a funding. She will be going
Eritrea to work in woman's health care to improve the
maternal outcomes with baby's outcome.
The last person to speak was Dr. Joyce Blueford. The
founder and the president of the Math Science Nucleus http://www.msnucleus.org. My Blueford made a brief
demonstration of the software used to teach children using
computers in math and science. Dr. Joyce talked about how
it is difficult to use computers in Eritrea's due to the fact
that Eritrea uses 220 volts system. While in The US we use
110 V. The electrical system in Eritrea could be unstable/the
weather in a certain area can be unfriendly to the
computers. Those are some of the difficulties they
encounter unless an effort is put into finding a solution.
Dr. Blueford talked about the expertise needed on how to
use and network the computers those are available in
Eritrea. She mentioned that the Danish is donating 5
million/year for five years for the infrastructure. But the
training will come from Math Science Nucleus. Math Science Nucleus is nonprofit
Organization which aims into exposing student at a young
age to the unlimited resources of the technology. As Craig
stated, Dr. Joyce made a career developing curricula in
teaching math and science to young students. The science
curricula is being used to introduce the teacher-training
institute in Eritrea, to help improve math and science
education's. The program depends generally on the