Asmara Eritrea - June 8th 2005
Time for the goodbyes. I take a bus
to Sembel, where Feshaye lives with his wife, his mother Tsehaytu and their five
children. When I walk into their street, a few of the smaller children recognize
me and ran in my direction. "Hannes, Hannes!" I drink coffee, the
traditional style. Yordanos bakes me an egg with bread. From her shop I
buy a few bottles of Araki. Still 32 Nakfa per bottle, the only commodity that
seems to have a stable price, and therefore cheaper in terms of dollars than
Next to visit is Terhas and Feshaye
and Biniam and Rawha in the Corea Housing Complex and Freweini and Haile in the
Center of Asmara. I ask Freweini if she is willing to take me to Almaz, who
lives in Kahawta. I have never been to her house before, so I need someone to
show me the directions. Michael, her son, will accompany me.
We drink coffee with Almaz and there
is some pastry. I should have thought of taking some as a present. Last time I
met Almaz she lived in Germany. She returned to Eritrea a few years ago. She
tells me today is actually the first time she speaks German since she returned.
A new church has been build in the
new part of Kahawta. I ask Michael to bring me there. In front of the church, a
lot of people pray. A woman hands me a small bag with holy earth. Michael
translates the instructions the woman gives on how to use it and what diseases
it will cure.
When we leave the church site,
Michael tells me that some time ago a plane crashed in this area. We will walk
to the scene. But we have to be careful. There is a lot of military in the area.
We are close to the airport. I suggest we should forget the walk and return. I
want to be on the plane tonight and not in an Eritrean police station. But
Michael does not listen and continues his walk to the wreck.
I pack my camera in my bag,
after removing the memory card. If there is any questions, the military
should be convinced that it is not my intention to picture the airport
installations. I do not want any problems on this last day in Eritrea. The
military is not the only risk. The area is rough, very rought. I have to
take care not to get hurt, slipping into one of the many dry
One of the guards approaches
us. Michael explains what we want to do. The military man urges us to have
a quick look at the remainders of the crashed crashed Ukrainian IL-76 cargo
plane, and than leave the site as soon as possible. And so we do. No
pictures. The plane crashed on July 17 1998, but the most of it remained
scattered on the field.
The two kilometers walk through
rough, partly ploughed land, and back, makes me very thirsty. We drink a coke in
a snack bar in the new build section of Kahawta and than wait for the bus to
return to the center of Asmara.
Michael will go home, I will go to
Edaga Arbi, to say goodbye to Gorzit, Tabotu and Ethiopia. We drink tea. some
short dialogues. Neither Gorzit, nor Tabotu speak English.
And than finally there is a few
hours to organize my luggage, take a good shower and prepare for the flight back
home. When packing my clothes, I realize that it makes no sense to bring all
three May 24th t-shirts back home. And I remember Johnny in the Damera bar, who
asked if he could have one. I hurry back to the center. Johnny is exited that I
did not forget him. Although I almost did.
I have a last drink have some
mini pizza's. Gebrehiwot is waiting at his house. I have to check in. But
by now I know that check in at ten o'clock means that you should not come
to many hours later. I make some last phone calls, and off we go to the
At eleven o'clock I pass the various
checkpoints (airport gate, passport and ticket check, passport check at the
airport hall entrance, airport tax, electronics declaration form, currency
declaration form, exit form and passport control, luggage and physical checks).
Everything well organized, efficient and strict.
There is lot of passengers who know
me. but unfortunately I forgot the names of most of them. We share our
experiences in Eritrea, have some last drinks at the bar and wait until it is
time to board the plane.
After dinner, a short chat and
photo session with the cabin crew in the kitchen, I have some sleep on
Eritrean Airlines night flight to Amsterdam.
Yordanos' new born baby Netsanet - Sembel, Asmara Eritrea.
Michael my nephew, and his
girlfriend Nardos - Asmara Eritrea.
Almaz, my sister in law, Kahawta, Asmara Eritrea.
Melat - Asmara Eritrea.
New Coptic Church of Kahawta
- Asmara Eritrea.
Michael at a lake just outside Kahawta,
when we were
walking to the crashed crashed Ukrainian IL-76 cargo plane.
New built houses and offices
in Kahawta - Asmara Eritrea.
"Follow me" - Edaga Arbi, Asmara Eritrea.
Asmara International Airport - Tax
free shops and waiting area.
"Thank you for flying
Eritrean Airlines, we hope to meet you on one
of our next flights". Flight attendants Meraf (left) and Taha