By: Helen Woldu

I had just ended a loving and healthy relationship and I needed to leave Los Angeles. I contemplated whether I should go to Eritrea for I feared for my safety. My parents did as well (they weren’t supportive of my decision at all but in the end they were happy). I decided to visit the birthplace of my parents in Eritrea and meet my paternal grandmother once and for all. It took the embassy three months to approve my visa but I didn’t allow that to deter me and I was very persistent and used all of my resources to get there.

In the end, meeting grandma was one of most profound moments in my life. I learned so much about my family history, the Eritrean /Ethiopian conflict, the colonization of Eritrea during Mussolini days, and I discovered elements of my identity that could only be unmasked through this journey.



Helen Woldu is a 27-year-old Eritrean-American living all over the world.  She is a founding team member at a tech startup called Threde. Helen is a growth hacker with a specialization in business development and she is currently experimenting with code. Every now and then she takes photos of people, places and things.