Keren Eritrea - September 14th 2002
After my visit to Agordat and Barentu, I have
some problems with my digestive tract. I have to take some medicine. Unfortunately Hansu and Afworki went to the hospital
very early and I cannot take the medicine with the Keren water coming from the
tap. That would be asking for more trouble. When I see next door neighbor
Yohanna, I give her some coins and try to make clear what I want.
"Shy-hi", I say and move my hand like I am drinking.
I hoped she would visit some kind of bar to get
me tea, but she is going to search Hansu's house instead. Not able to find the
tea, she calls her older sister for assistance. Her sister Fortuna cannot find
the tea either, so she returns to her house and comes back with some tea in the
palm of her hand and some other edible surprises. A few minutes later Fortuna is
making me cups of tea, while Yohanna is teaching her cat gymnastics and cleans the
Yohanna fetches a nail clipper. She wants to
shorten my nails. But I did my nails just before I left. I think she just want
to please me, so I take my video camera, point the lens in her direction and
start to whistle the Eritrean anthem. Yohanna picks up the intro and starts to
sing. When she is finished, she sings some other recognizable Eritrean songs
that children learn at school. From the plastic bag she takes some bread and
shares it with me.
Then Hansu and Afworki come back from the
hospital. They have bought fresh bread and Hansu starts to make us coffee.
The coffee should not be part of my diet, but how do I explain it to Hansu.
Afraid I will insult her by refusing to drink the coffee, I drink my three cups
and swallow some Loperamidehydrocloride to eliminate the negative effects on my
From Hansu's house I start to walk in a large circle
to explore this part of Keren. When I follow the dry riverbed, used as a footpath
by the locals, I reach the camel market, where lots of camels, their drivers and
other merchandise are gathered. In a nearby hotel I drink two bottles of mineral
water, sharing a table with the Eritrean visitors and telling them about my
Back in Afworki's house, I understand there is
no coca cola in Keren this week. Some logistic problems of the coca cola factory
in Asmara I assume. We eat some bread and drink tea. At 13:00 Gebre Wolde,
Afworki's brother comes to visit us. We will walk some other parts of Keren and
visit the British cemetery. It is closed but Gebre suggests we use the "back door"
which means climbing over the wall.
There is a lot of reconstruction and building
activity in Keren. Pavement is teared up for the construction of sewers and the
public water works. New housing and offices are being build in several parts of
Keren. Every once and a while we have to do a bit of climbing to pass the large
grooves in the streets of Keren.
After visiting the tank graveyard and following
part of the track of the former railway, we return to the house of Hansu and
Afworki. Habte is missing. Nobody knows
where he is. At 20:00 he returns with bad news. No bus to Nacfa on Sunday.
Fortuna - daughter of next door neighbor
of Hansu and Afworki.
Johanna, daughter of next door neighbor
teaching gymnastics to the cat.
Railway bridge of Keren
crossing a dry riverbed leading to the camel market.
Tukul in the typical landscape
Muslim children making fun in front of
my camera on the streets of Keren.
Children in front of their house
with decorated doors in Keren.
Modern tukul in Keren.
One of the Catholic churches of
British cemetery in Keren.
Tank Graveyard in Keren.