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May 2005 - Celebrating the
14th anniversary of Eritrea
 

 

Himbirti Eritrea - June 7th 2005

 

Bus number 20 brings me from Cinema Roma to Adi Guadad. On the other side of the road is the bus stop for Himbirti and Mai Nefhi. It will take 90 minutes before the bus arrives. For three Nakfa I buy a ticket to Himbirti. In the bus I learn another lesson: fist claim a seat, and than buy the ticket. A friendly youngster offers me his seat and I accept.

The route is the same as on Sunday, when I visited Mai Nefhi with Feshaye, and than some 10 kilometers extra on a new asphalt road. The bus brings me in the center of Himbirti, a small village with modest houses and dusty streets.

I follow the telephone and electricity lines, that end after some two kilometers in a abyss marking the edge of the plain. A men invites me to his house to eat, I think. He only speaks Italian. I show him a picture of the cave with its rock paintings. He points with his finger, and mentions some names. I do not understand, but it must be far from here.

Back in the center of the town a man with a walkie-talkie approaches me. Although he does not wear a uniform, it is clear that it is a police man. It is his job to check my credentials. I invite him to have a drink. And while drinking a beer with him, I show my passport and visa, entry date May 20th, so I will have to leave before June 20th.

He asks me the purpose of my visit to Himbirti. I show him a picture of the rock paintings. He is prepared to show me the place. We walk out of the village, downhill. He shows me the caves from some distance. To visit them, I need a permit from the National museum in Asmara. I am kindly requested not to make pictures. "No permit, no visit, no pictures, just look."

The policeman escorts me back to the village and to the bus station. I tell him I will walk some more to enjoy the rest of the village and its surroundings. I climb a hill to have an overview, before I start my walk through Himbirti to see the rest of the village and its agricultural surroundings.

Back in Asmara I have some time to meet some people and to visit the post office to mail some souvenirs and letters. I visit the Keren hotel. The renovation is finished, the official opening ceremonies took place, but there is some delay in the actual operations.

I visit Bar Selas to say good bye to Freweini and her father, and enjoy two donuts at BBRSSY Donut House (short name for Bereket, Belainesh, Rafael, Senait, Samrawit and Yohannes, the owner and his family). I buy some pastry for Meaza and her family as well.

At 17:30 I meet her in her office in the Asmara Intercontinental Hotel, where we take the number 9 bus that will bring us to the Asmara Stadium. From there we walk some 15 minutes to her house in Mai Temenai, where we enjoy a coffee ceremony and delicious pasta with her sister Abeba.

 

Women on the local market - Himbirti Eritrea.

Women on the local market - Himbirti Eritrea.

Looking down from the hill - Himbirti Eritrea.

Looking down from the hill - Himbirti Eritrea.

Traditional houses (hidmo) - Himbirti Eritrea.

Traditional houses (hidmo) - Himbirti Eritrea.

Local scenery - Himbirti Eritrea.

Local scenery - Himbirti Eritrea.

Local children - Himbirti Eritrea.

Local children - Himbirti Eritrea.

Local scenery - Himbirti Eritrea.

Local scenery - Himbirti Eritrea.

Local scenery - Himbirti Eritrea.

Local scenery - Himbirti Eritrea.

Local scenery - Himbirti Eritrea.

Local scenery - Himbirti Eritrea.

Not seen: Caves and rock paintings - Himbirti Eritrea.

Caves and rock paintings - Himbirti Eritrea.

Diner and Eritrean coffee ceremony with Meaza and her sister - Asmara.

Diner and Eritrean coffee ceremony with Meaza and her sister - Asmara.

 

 
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