Asmara Eritrea - September 29th 2005
From the center of Asmara, I
take the number 7 bus to Kahawta to visit the Asmara Brewery. I am
welcomed by Senait, the secretary of the sales manager, Dawit. "Mr.
Dawit is not in yet". We discus the situation with Ethiopia.
"Who will help us to solve this situation?" Senait asks me.
"Only God can help".
I cannot find a more satisfying answer. And at the same time I hope God
will forgive the Eritrean government, that is eliminating every Christian
society that is very un-Eritrean, and therefore a potential breading nest
of anti Eritrean conspiracy, or even directly conflicting with the current
"no war - no peace situation". Which can easily be translated
into a "No peace - No Jehovah's Witnesses situation", since the Jehovah's
Witnesses have a very un-Eritrean belief on how to handle the border
More than once I received
e-mail, pointing to the persecution and arrests of Christians in Eritrea,
usually of the Pentecostal movement or the Jehovah's Witnesses. I guess it
would be a nice gesture of these two movements in the US and EU to lobby
for peace in the region. It would solve both the problems of their
brothers and sisters in Eritrea, and the problems of millions of other
people in the Horn of Africa.
In the 20's and 30's the
Communists in the USA were not treated any better than the Jehovah's
Witnesses in Eritrea now. It is just a matter of national security,
regulations and laws that fit the actual "situation". In the USA
it is the Muslims that are the victims of the "War against
terrorism". In Eritrea it is the Christians (that disobey the
While talking with Senait, I discover a beer mat that she uses as a mouse mat. It is exactly what I am
looking for, I say to here. "Mr. Dawit has a lot of them in his
office, but they are more than 30 years old" Senait tells me. The
fact that we Europeans value old things in perfect condition, passes her
When the marketing manager
arrives in the office, there is not the least problem to get some
souvenirs of the brewery (labels, beer mats, calendars). I feel guilty
that I did not bring any souvenir from Holland in return.
"Don't", Dawit replies, "It is my job to assist people like
you. Your satisfaction is my reward." I
carefully pack the souvenirs, and take the bus to the center and post
office to send them to Germany in the envelopes I prepared for this
Next on my agenda is a family
visit in Edaga Arbi and to deliver some pictures in Abbashaul, near the bus station.
The girls in the grocery shop are so happy I came back to bring them their
pictures. "Sit down" they order, after arranging a chair. An
orange from the shop is my reward. They didn't have to do that. Their
happiness is my reward. I make more pictures.
In the evening I am a guest at
the opening ceremony on the occasion of World Day of Tourism, in the Embasoira
Hotel. Representatives of tourism service providers, the
Eritrean government and foreign guests share a buffet diner with live
music and traditional dance. A wonderful experience and a good opportunity
to meet new people and to have a short conversation with the many people I
know from previous visits.
After the diner the floor is
prepared for a feast with live music and dance for the guests.
Reconstruction of the
railroad (painting) - Post office Asmara.
Cinema Hamasien - Edaga Arbi
Mosque - Via Jeddah Asmara Eritrea.
Mini supermarket - Abbashaul
US bad conscience: Double barricaded
UNMEE HQ - Asmara Eritrea.
Beggar - Asmara Eritrea.
Old timer - Semaetat Avenue Asmara Eritrea.
Semaetat Avenue - Asmara Eritrea.
Bank of Eritrea - Nakfa
Avenue Asmara Eritrea.
Tedros Kebbede (Travel House International) and Doris Wagner (Eritrea Tours)
at the opening ceremony of World Day of Tourism in the Embasoira Hotel.