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2003 - Part of the family
 
 

Keren Eritrea - October 13th 2003

 

On Mondays there is a livestock market in Keren. So I start looking for the right direction by first asking the approximate direction, and then hitch on to a herd of cattle going in the same direction. Just to be sure, I ask the owner of the cattle if he is going to the market. He is, and every once and a while he looks if I am still able to follow him, through the river bank, the narrow alleys, going steep up and down. After some 15 minutes we reach the compound.

I walk between the merchandise and look at the various activities on the market for one hour and drink some tea in one of the small tea shops that surround the compound. Some herdsmen try to sell me one of their goats. It might be a nice idea to buy a small goat as a surprise for Hansu and Afworki, but being alone I cannot negotiate the price. If they understand my English, I try to start a conversation with the shepherds. And when they react with a friendly reply, there is a good chance they do not mind if I take a picture.

When I have seen it all, I decide to explore the outskirts of Keren, trying to leave the obvious route and ascending the small paths that lead to the houses on the slopes of the hills. Children are following me, and when there number is growing, I try to find my way back to the main road. They all want to shake hands, and the smaller ones try to attract my attention by clinging to my clothes and camera bag. In an attempt to release myself I ask them where I can find a "dukan", a grocery shop. The children lead me to the nearest shop, where I buy a coke. The group of children is waiting outside.

The female shopkeeper is amused by my situation. I invest some Nakfa's in candy and give them to the children. I have a bottle of cold mango juice. I tell the lady I want to picture her. She is hiding behind the wooden frame that serves as a counter. But after literally begging, she is prepared to pose. After some time I continue my walk, followed by the children. When they get to close I act as if I will catch them and they flee in the opposite direction.

At noon Hansu makes me injera with shuro and we drink Eritrean coffee. I explain my plans for tomorrow. I want to go to Tessenei, and will be gone for some days. She wants to know what I am going to do in Tessenei. To go to Tessenei just for fun is quite unusual. She is a bit worried that I will go on my own. I ask her what would be the problem. "There is no problem, but there may be mines in the area." A thunderstorm with lots of rain is a blessing to the dusty town. I will have to wait until it stops.

In the afternoon I visit the streets closer to the center of the village, where women are selling all kinds of merchandise, to collect some souvenirs. At the bus station I buy a ticket in one of the offices for next days bus to Tessenei. "You have seat number one", the man tells me enthusiast. It is the best seat in the bus, almost next to the driver, if I am in time of course. The bus will leave at 4:30

I visit bar restaurant Stuttgart. Elen and her two daughters Hidat and Rahel came from Germany a few years ago and opened a beautiful restaurant. They have invited me to drink Eritrean coffee. Unfortunately I forgot to bring them a small gift. Have to find them a small souvenir in the coming days.

And finally I visit the neighbors of Hansu and Afworki, to keep my promise to picture Yohanna and her pets and we drink some tea.

 

 

Scenes of Keren - walking to the livestock market.

Scenes of Keren - walking to the livestock market.

Keren Eritrea - livestock market.

Keren Eritrea - livestock market.

Keren Eritrea - livestock market.

Keren Eritrea - livestock market.

Keren Eritrea - livestock market.

Keren Eritrea - livestock market.

Walking through Keren Eritrea.

Walking through Keren Eritrea.

Se'alena, se'alena (picture us) -  Local children - Keren Eritrea.

"Se'alena, se'alena" (picture us) - Local children - Keren Eritrea.

Walking through Keren Eritrea.

Walking through Keren Eritrea.

Interior of the little grocery store (dukan) - Keren Eritrea.

Interior of the little grocery store "dukan" - Keren Eritrea.

Keren's colorful and bustling market.

Keren's colorful and bustling market.

Women shopping - Keren Eritrea.

Women shopping - Keren Eritrea.

(Neighbors daughter) Yohanna and her dog - Keren Eritrea.

(Neighbors daughter) Yohanna and her dog - Keren Eritrea.

 

 
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