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Eritrea September 2002
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 2002 Touring through Eritrea
 

 

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 yard.

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 stomach.

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 plans.

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.

Fortuna - daughter of next door neighbor of Hansu and Afworki.

Johanna, daughter of next door neighbor teaching gymnastics to the cat.

Johanna, daughter of next door neighbor teaching gymnastics to the cat.

Railway bridge of Keren crossing a dry riverbed leading to the camel market.

Railway bridge of Keren crossing a dry riverbed leading to the camel market.

Tukul in the typical landscape around Keren.

Tukul in the typical landscape around Keren.

Muslim children making fun in front of my camera on the streets of Keren.

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.

Children in front of their house with decorated doors in Keren.

Modern tukul in Keren.

Modern tukul in Keren.

One of the Catholic churches of Keren.

One of the Catholic churches of Keren.

British cemetary in Keren.

British cemetery in Keren.

Tank Graveyard in Keren.

Tank Graveyard in Keren.

 

 
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