African Women Voices

How I Learned to Love My Name


It’s not everyday you meet a person named Ariam. Beyond this past summer, I don’t recall the last time I met someone with my name. 

My mother, whom is naturally chatty, engaged in dialogue with another shopper inside a clothing story in Ketema, Asmara. She was a brown woman with broad shoulders and appeared in her 40s. Her name was Ariam.

But that’s it.

My name is not common in America or Eritrea, though in the past few years non-Eritreans have picked up on its origins.

Ariam derives from Ge’ez, the parental language of Tigrinya. My name in Ge’ez means “Semiaye Semai’at”. That’s English for “heavens of the heavens” revealed a ministry worker slash deacon in Eritrea in 2014.

This was after he first asked if I had known the meaning of my name. No, I replied. In defense, I said “Why ask me a…

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This entry was posted on 12 February 2015 by in Women.

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