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
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.
Road to Agordat - Keren Eritrea.
Landscape - just outside Keren on
the road to Agordat.
New built houses - just outside
Keren on the road to Agordat.
Bougainvillea - Keren
Naughty 1995 Lancia calendar
on one of the buses - Keren Eritrea.
Beauty salon - Keren Eritrea.
Road to Asmara - Keren Eritrea.
Household utensils shops - Keren
Eritrean beauty - Keren