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2003 - Part of the family
 
 

Asmara Eritrea - May 22nd 2003

 

I have some time to visit a new landmark in Asmara: The Orota Referral Hospital constructed in cooperation with the Peoplesí Republic of China earlier this year. I also visit the ministry of tourism for inquiries about the railway. I leave my name and telephone number. They will call me if there is an opportunity to make the trip. I walk through Acria, a remote district of Asmara in the hills.

Children make decorations on the street on the occasion of the 12th anniversary of independence of Eritrea, using little stones, crown corks and other materials. They are supposed to be rewarded for their piece of art with some coins, or a Nakfa.

I am invited for a lunch by the family of Mebrats friends in Holland, who live in Mai Temenai. I cannot believe my eyes. More than ten different kinds of food are waiting for me, both traditional and Italian. They want to be absolutely sure that I will eat my favorite meal. I take some of everything. They have done there best. It all tastes delicious.

We drink coffee Eritrean style and chat for many hours. At 15:00 my host drives me back to Harnet Avenue, where I try to find out where the activities will be in the coming days. I do not want to miss any of them.

I have some rest in a pavement outside the American Bar and watch the people passing. Men want to sell old silver coins to me. I young girl is complaining in Italian that she is hungry. She has bad luck. I just spent my last one Nakfa note to a man walking with crutches. Efrem, the seaman I met a few days ago shares my table. Wants to know if I need his services. He needs the money. I tell him I am not in a position to use his services as a guide. Sometimes it is more adventure to walk on your own without a specific goal. He understands and I offer him a drink. He shares my bottle of mineral water

Walking on Harnet Avenue the people start to recognize me en tell me they saw me in Mai Temenai. Again I have to tell what I think of Asmara and its people. When I pass the Martyrs Tree in front of the town hall I realize what it represents: Thousands of brave men and women gave their lives to defend their country when it was occupied in 1961 and again invaded in 2000 by big neighbor Ethiopia, hungry for power in this part of Africa.

Once two brotherly people. Now Ethiopia is expelling her "brothers and sisters" because they are Eritrean by birth. The Eritrean government recognizes spies in every corner of the country, even closing churches, to prevent people to conspire. I ask Efrem about the problems facing many protestants these days. He tells me the government closed most of the protestant churches in May 2002, giving them one year to prove they are not dependent upon foreign influences. Result of US support to Ethiopia in the recent past.

The Orota Referral Hospital - Asmara Eritrea.

The Orota Referral Hospital - Asmara Eritrea.

People living in the hills of Acria - Asmara.

People living in the hills of Acria - Asmara.

Young boy playing his krar - Acria Asmara.

Young boy playing his krar - Acria Asmara.

Mosque - Acria Asmara.

Mosque - Acria Asmara.

The family visit - Mai Temenai - Asmara.

The family visit - Mai Temenai - Asmara.

The family visit - Mai Temenai - Asmara.

The family visit - Mai Temenai - Asmara.

The family visit - Mai Temenai - Asmara.

The family visit - Mai Temenai - Asmara.

The family visit - Mai Temenai - Asmara.

The family visit - Mai Temenai - Asmara.

The house of "the Italian" - Airport Road Asmara.

The house of "the Italian" - Airport Road Asmara.

 

 
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