Implementing Koha for EIT – Asmara, Eritrea

Eritrean Institute of Technology (EIT) main campus is located about 20Kms from the Capital of Eritrea Asmara in Mai-Nefhi.

EIT main campus is located at Mai-Nefhi about 20kms from Eritrea capital, Asmara

Indeed, another name for the institution is Mai-Nefhi College. With over 5000 students, distributed in 3 colleges, the institution is the focal training center for Science and Technology related courses in Eritrea.

Discussions were very interesting

We arrived in Asmara in the last week of January and went straight to work: Implementation of the Koha Integrated Library System.

Entrance for the College of Science at EIT

For five days we engaged the EIT library team and ICT team without a break. And it paid off.

We had virtually completed the the key deliverables from System installation, converting legacy data, data migration, system configuration and system customization.

We had also some time for basic training!

The last day was however the most exciting because we had the real opportunity to engage and sample Eritrean culture and cuisine in a more relaxed atmosphere.

Dan with Rediet Tadesse in front of the EIT Main Library

It started with a traditional Coffee ceremony held conveniently at the main library’s circulation area. It was then that i learnt legend has it that coffee was actually discovered in Ethiopia just across the border. But there are counter-arguments to that story.

Eritrea and Ethiopia share a common border, lot of history and lots of culture. Take ‘Himbasha’ for example, a large, slightly sweet flat bread served only during special occasions. It made the occasion truly special.

The traditional coffee ceremony was very interesting and memorable

Then we had an evening dinner where we had the best of Eritrean cuisine. ‘Injera’ is the most memorable. But before that we had ‘Mess’. Am not sure if hat’s how it’s spelt but i remember the disclaimer that it can mess up with you if you consume it in excess.

There was ‘Himbasha’, a very large cake to accompany the coffee ceremony

Brewed from pure honey, the drink is served in clear glasses with a thin bottle-neck. Very smooth and refreshing drink. Probably because of the stories and the ‘mess’ effect, the night ebbed away very fast.

We sat in semi-circle fashion, the cake in the middle

Despite the night freezing temperatures and the erratic Internet connection, Asmara is a cool and a friendly city with great people. Unfortunately we ran out of time and couldn’t manage to sample the life out of the city and the touted Red sea coastline. Maybe next time.

We got some time in the end to visit the Mai-Nefhi dam that supplies water to Asmara
Samuel Tsami took us around to see a few sites around Mai-Nefhi

By Benson Mugambi (Busara Core Solutions)

Implementing Koha for EIT – Asmara, Eritrea
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