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May 2005 - Celebrating the
14th anniversary of Eritrea
 

 

Keren Eritrea - May 28th 2005

 

Rural life wakes you up very early. At 4:00 the cocks cry out enthusiastically that they have spotted the first rays of light. At 6:00 I drink tea and coffee with Afworki and Hansu, talking about Eritrea and the Netherlands, the family and my plans. Hansu makes me an egg with bread.

Tey are very busy, because both Hansu and Afworki have a job. And Hansu has an old mother and a nephew, Bereket, to take care of as well. I tell her she shouldn't worry. I will find my way through Keren in the daytime, and I will return at sundown. If necessary, I will visit the house of the neighbors, or Elen in restaurant & bar Stuttgart.

I ask Hansu if I can borrow Bereket's bike, so I can move just a bit faster, and easily visit the places on the edge of the town. "What is ours, is yours. My house is your house, and Bereket's bike is your bike!" A few minutes later I am cycling through Keren, enthusiastically followed and greeted by local children.

Just before I leave Keren, the road is going downhill and I have to slow down. One of the brakes cables break, reducing a safe descend to a minimum. But on the side of the road there is a small bike repair shop.

I ask the boy what it will cost to replace the cable. "15 Nakfa" (one dollar) he answers. Surprised by this price I ask him to start replacing it. In less then ten minutes the repair is finished, while another boy checks the tyre pressure and gives them some extra air. I give them a 20 Nakfa note and proceed my tour to the Sarina Hotel.

The Sarina Hotel opened last year and is a top class hotel. Unfortunately it is far from the center of the town, but it can be reached by minibus or a taxi. I also is the most expensive hotel in Keren.

Next destination is Mariam Dearit. I visited this holy place last year to pray for Deborah. Now I am back to pray again. Not only did Deborah survive her terrible disease, but a few weeks from now she will have a baby. Doctors told her she could never get pregnant because of the chemotherapy and radiation therapy, but after her mother  strewed the sand, that I brought her from this holy place, on her body, the miracle took place.

In a small shop on the compound, I buy a bottle of mineral water. Two women invite me to join their picnic and to eat injera with them. I accept the invitation and spent half an hour, eating, talking, and drinking coffee.

The road to Agordat is the next place to visit. Here they have constructed hundreds of new, modern houses and industrial facilities, connected with a network of smooth asphalt roads. A good example of infrastructural development of the Eritrean government and implementation capacity of the Eritrean people.

Back in the center of Keren, a group of girls challenges me when a pass them on my bike. I turn around and picture Semhar with her beautiful henna tattooed hands. Eritrean women and girls  embrace the art of henna body decoration - for fashion and beauty, for personal expression, for social and religious occasions and more. 

At 14:00 I return the bike. I am not used to ride a bicycle, and my whole body hurts. I spend the rest of the afternoon walking and visiting friends. At the bus station many buses arrive from all parts of the country. Tomorrow the festival of Mariam Dearit will take place.

 

Sarina Hotel - Road to Asmara - Keren Eritrea.

Sarina Hotel - Road to Asmara - Keren Eritrea.

Road to Agordat - Keren Eritrea.

Road to Agordat - Keren Eritrea.

Landscape - just outside Keren on the road to Agordat.

Landscape - just outside Keren on the road to Agordat.

New built houses - just outside Keren on the road to Agordat.

New built houses - just outside Keren on the road to Agordat.

Bougainvillea - Keren Eritrea.

Bougainvillea - Keren Eritrea.

naughty 1995 Lancia calendar on one of the busses - Keren Eritrea.

Naughty 1995 Lancia calendar on one of the buses - Keren Eritrea.

Beauty salon - Keren Eritrea.

Beauty salon - Keren Eritrea.

Road to Asmara - Keren Eritrea.

Road to Asmara - Keren Eritrea.

Household utensils shops - Keren Eritrea.

Household utensils shops - Keren Eritrea.

Eritrean beauty - Keren Eritrea.

Eritrean beauty - Keren Eritrea.

 

 
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