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Celebrating 10 years liberation
 
 

Keren May 29th 2001

 

We have a fantastic night's rest. Such an unexpected surprise. We wake up at 05:30 in the morning. The rhythm of sleeping and working is quit different from that in Holland. The cock serves as the alarm-clock (even in Asmara) and everyone is busy before it is 6 o'clock. Hansu is making injera and a 15 year old girl is performing the traditional Eritrean coffee ceremony.

Hansu works for the Eritrean government in Keren. But now that we are her guests she will not go to her office. It is quite natural in Eritrea to take care of your guests instead of working. We eat the most delicious injera I have ever eaten. They have told me it is made of maize and Hansu bakes it just a little bit longer, to get a nice brown color and a bit more flavor.

Than we go to the celebration of Mariam Da'rit which is a few miles out of town. Thousands of Eritrean people from all over Eritrea are gathering near the gigantic boabab tree to warship Maria. Last year I felt a bit uneasy among so many people, but this year it is quite different. So many warm glances. As if I am among thousands of friends. And more than once the Eritrean people offer me food and they invite me to their Eritrean coffee ceremony under the trees.

The celebration starts with prayers in some kind of extemporized tent and are followed by a pilgrimage of all kinds of religious groups around the boabab tree that also contains a little chapel inside. And than there is singing and dancing.

The prayers for rain are answered instantly. A little sandstorm and heavy rainfall end the ceremony. We go back to Hansu. She is waiting for us with dinner.

Just after six o'clock it starts getting dark. And nine o'clock is bedtime.

 

Hansu making injera early in the morning in Keren.

Hansu making injera early in the morning.

Selling tickets in the bus to Mariam Dearit.

Selling tickets in the bus to Mariam Dearit.

Women praying at the shrine of Mariam Dearit - Keren Eritrea.

Women praying at the shrine of Mariam Dearit - Keren Eritrea.

Little boy at the festival of Mariam Dearit.

Little boy at the festival of Mariam Dearit.

Procession around the shrine of Mariam Dearit - Keren Eritrea.

Procession around the shrine of Mariam Dearit - Keren Eritrea.

Various groups making music and dancing at the festival of Mariam Dearit.

Various groups making music and dancing at the festival of Mariam Dearit.

The Maria statue in the procession around the boabab tree.

The Maria statue in the procession around the boabab tree.

Women singing near the shrine of Mariam Dearit.

Women singing near the shrine of Mariam Dearit.

Tigre women dance the sheleel, swinging their long plaited hair vigorously across their faces at the festival of Mariam Dearit.

Tigre women dance the sheleel, swinging their long plaited hair
 vigorously across their faces at the festival of Mariam Dearit.

Bilen woman at the celebration of Mariam Dearit.

Bilen woman at the celebration of Mariam Dearit.

 

 
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