Suddenly, I received this message under this post on my blog:”Dear Sir Bugi, I am very happy to see that your son is growing fast, i admire your blog too. we are all fine. winter is coming and we are reserving our energy to consume it in the coming months“. Then my memory just flew away … far … far to a long time ago memory, when I met him in the Netherlands, precisely, in Wageningen – International of Agricultural Centre (IAC). [PS. I knew as he called me with ‘sir’ and it was a kind of his joke though]
Who is ‘him’? His name is Biniam and he was from Eritrea – a small country in Africa continent – with population was (2005) 4.561.599 inhabitants (more information on Eritrea). However, he was not in Eritrea anymore. He and his family has been living in UK since – unfortunately, I forgot when and why exactly he moved out from Eritrea to UK (United Kingdom). As I knew, he was a nice man and was a nice friend to discuss as well. I met him during a three months course at IAC, located in Wageningen – The Netherlands. It was around the year of 2001.
Our friendship was started – if I am not mistaken (correct me if I was wrong, Biniam) – in class room, as classmate, within around 20 other international course participants. They were from Indonesia, Nepal, Bhutan, Zimbabwe, South Africa, China, India, Pakistan and Eritrea. Then, we stayed at the hotel (to be honest, I forgot what the hotel name was, just say it as IAC hotel – fair enough). The hotel was at the same compound with IAC so, our activities were not far from class – hotel room – dining room and Wageningen shopping centre that was located just across the street.
Wageningen was not a big city. However, its dedication to be known as a science city was recognised internationally, especially in agriculture sector. The city was nice, quiet and clean. It was a good place to walk as well. Pedestrian was people facilitated well, as well as cyclist. Therefore, I and Biniam enjoyed walking after having dinner and sometime after last classes in the afternoon. It was autumn, winter was nearly coming, and the weather was nice, adding spices to our walking topics. Of course, not a serious topic – as serious topics were ended as the class closed.
One impression I received from him that, as he told me (Biniam was a civil servant – working at Eritrean Ministry of Agriculture), he never did any corruption at all in his job. He added that corruption was not common culture in Eritrea. My comment was that Eritrea was possibly to be involved in Ripley’s show: Believe it or not. It was due to what I used to see in Indonesia that it was (prefer to say by using ‘is’) a part of the culture already. [Even I was not sure about this, because, based on information, Indonesia’s rank of corruption was 88 – from rank 1 – 180 countries with 180 was the worst, and Eritrea’s was 101, which Indonesia was better than Eritrea, source: World Audit Corruption, 2010 – and it was beyond my discussion in this post].
Biniam, it was nice to see you again, trough your comment into my blog, event only in virtual world. Wish you all the best, mate!
Bogor, 13 November 2011
[Posted too @ Kompasiana]