Debarwa Eritrea - May 25th 2004
Debarwa is the village where
Yordanos, my sister in law was born. It is also know because of its
springs of mineral water, bottled and sold under the same name as the
village. Recently an Australian
mining company found significant quantities of copper, silver and gold
in the Debarwa region. I passed the village several times on my way to
Mendefera. Today we will visit Debarwa itself to visit Yordanos family.
Yordanos brings a bottle of
Asmara Zibib from her shop as a gift. On our way to the bus station I buy
some other gifts: coffee and hembesha. Even at 9:00 it is hot, especially
when the bus is waiting at the bus terminal in Asmara. At 10:00 we arrive
in Debarwa and walk to the house of Alem en Kesete, Yordanos mother and
father, and her two sisters Ghenet and Bisrat.
We drink coffee and have
breakfast: hembesha with egg. The family has many chicken "derho",
that we born from eggs imported from the Netherlands, using an incubator.
The chicken are well fed, and one of them has bad luck. He will be used
But first Yordanos father will
show us the surroundings of Debarwa. We climb one of the hills to visit a
church, and another one, also hosting an orthodox church. we are allowed
to see the interior of one of them (the visit requires a permit!) The
priest shows us the many paintings inside, representing the history of the
church itself and the history of faith, kings, worriers and church
fathers, going back to 300 AC.
On our way back we take a
shortcut, going down a lot steeper, and a lot faster. Yordanos mother and
sisters have done their best to prepare us a delicious lunch. We chat for
one hour and at 15:00 we return to Asmara. I will have to prepare myself
for the trip to Assab tomorrow.
When the bus passes the first
checkpoint after Debarwa, the military police wants to register my
passport in their logbook. I passed three times without drawing their
attention. Maybe is is because I passed so many times, that they are
interested in my motives. I hand them the permit. It will prove an
In Asmara I do some shopping
for tomorrow and I visit the office of Eritrean Airlines to confirm my
flight on June 2nd. Should have done that sooner, but who thinks of flying
back when the holidays have just started?
At the cathedral I take the
number 12 bus back to Sembel. When the bus arrives, and I wait on the curbstone,
the driver of the bus helps me a bit. I am right in front of the entrance,
not moving an inch when the Eritreans take a rush on the bus. In no time
the bus is chock-full and I try to move to the front of it, to watch were
it is going
The road entering Debarwa Eritrea.
The landscape around Debarwa
The house of Alem, Kesete,
Ghenet and Bisrat - Debarwa Eritrea.
Alem making Eritrean coffee -
Girl carrying water from the well -
Ghenet and Bisrat showing us the Dutch
chicken - Debarwa Eritrea.
Hanibal Hotel - Debarwa Eritrea.
One of the two Coptic
churches on the hills - Debarwa Eritrea.
Inscription on the Coptic
church - Debarwa Eritrea.
Kesete, father of Yordanos
showing me the surroundings - Debarwa Eritrea.