An ex migrant Fetia Mohammed who lived in Saudi Arabia for twenty eight years is now running an agricultural investment in her home town Babile Wereda in East Harerge along the River Yerer.
Fetia was forced to leave her home country Ethiopia for Saudi Arabia at a tender age of twelve when her parents married her off to a rich Arab man. In an interview she gave to BBC, Fetia recalled that the people she lived with in Saudi frequently rediculed her saying that she had come from a country where there is starvation and sufferings. During all of the time she had lived there, Fatia said she had never heard even once anyone talking anything nice about Ethiopia.
Fatia said to the BBC journalist, "I would become very frustrated when I hear all these distorted images of Ethiopia, which are all in a stark contrast to how I remember my country. A country that is blessed with pristine natural beauty and whatever you give to the land it gives back to you in bountiful." In fact, After having lived much of her life in Saudi for almost three decades, Fatia said she finanlly decided to return to her home country. She said, "I avoided to lead a lavish life, and began to save all of the money I could get by stashing it". After I had already saved enough money and was considering of returning to my country, by sheer coincidence the governement of Ethiopia was also calling out at the time for all expats abroad to come back and invest in their home country and help their country prosper. So Fatia contacted the foreign ministery office and told them what her plan was, and the following year she reunited with her beloved country.
...When Fetia came back to Ethiopia for good, the governement of Ethiopia offered her a land in Addis Ababa and requested her to invest there. However, Fatia said, "I resorted to going back to my birth place, Babile, because even though Babile is filled with many rivers the people there are still thirsty of water. Even though the land there is giving, the people there are still hungry for food." Determined to put to use the knowledge she attained while travelling to Egypt, Sudan and Saudi, Fetia believed that she could definitely change the lives of her people.
When Fatia went to Babile, she saw that the landscape there was anything but perfecr. It was marked by rolling hills on which the people grew little corn farms. In order to make the land suitable for farming, Fatia rented heavy construction machineries such as and levelled the ground. The whole job cost her 2 million birr. After the flattening of the land was completed, she had to attain to the water shortage issue which was a long standing problem in the area. Since Fetia knew some professional people from Sudan who could drill water out of the underground, she hired them paying them US currency. But under one condition. She ensured that the expertise of taking water out of the surface of the Earth was passed on fifty of the local youth. With the new found water, not only the local people started to have clear water for drinking but they also began to harvest their farms. Fetia also managed to grow fruits and coffee on her large farm. The young people who work on Fetia's farm are of different ethnicities and they have already settled there forming their own families.
This exraordinary work of Fatia has won her trophies and medals from the governement of Ethiopia. However, she did admit that the recent conflict that caused many people to abandon their home palce and flee elsewhere had indeeded slowed done her work.
Fatia owns two heavy vehicles, one pick up and one izuzu, both of which are providing services for the people. She has her own house near her farm and a car to get around. Her children are living in saudi all of who have their own homes there. When her family from Saudi came to visit her, Fatia said they were very surprised and could not believe that such kind of farm also exists here in Ethiopia.
Fatia is far from being content with what she has done so far. She is now thinking of building a factory close to her farm so that she can start producing agro processed produces.
Fatia says that in order to make sure that anything one does reaches its goal one has to take risks and never gives in to fear. "If women are brave, confident and are determined, they can achieve whatever they want. Women particulary in Saudi instead of only focusing on relaxing and having fun they need to also think about what they can do to benifit their country," says this extraordinary woman.