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November 2005
Walking through Eritrea

 

 

Asmara Eritrea - November 24th 2005

 

When I visit the Semaetat Secondary School, it appears that the most interesting part of the school (from architectural point of view) is its inner courtyard, just like Asmara's Theological School. So I enter the school and knock on the manager's door immediately on the right of the entrance hall of the school.

The manager accompanies me through the school to the inner court yard, telling me some of its history. It was founded by Italian priests and used to be a Catholic school during the Italian Colonial rule. Some angels, carved in the schools inner entrance hall are witnesses of its Catholic past. The Dergue confiscated the school. It is a government secondary school since.

The sun is making it impossible to make a good picture of the inner courtyard. The manager kindly invites me to return around or after 12:00 "You are always welcome in our school". Impressed by typical Eritrean hospitality, I promise to return later today.

The rest of the morning I visit Gheza Banda, a typical Italian suburb in the South-eastern edge of Asmara, well planned and executed, specially build and designed as additional housing and villas for the Italian immigrants in Eritrea in the 1930's and 40's.

In the afternoon I visit Medeber, one of my favorite areas in Asmara. The word Medeber is an Arabic word meaning 'caravan enclosure', a place for repairs, stocks and trade. The complex now houses many manufacturing workshops, stalls and chili-pepper mills.

Local craftsmen produce all kinds of kitchen utensils, shoes, beds, iron gates, and grave ornaments, recycling automobile scrap, tires, and oil drums. The energy and activity within the area is amazing, and a perfect example of self-reliance, import substitution and recycling.

Or as the EPLF fighters used to say: "Everything has its use, and then another use". Captured and repaired enemy armaments turned against their original possessors, and supplied the military hardware for Eritrea’s victory in its war for independence.

Some of the girls in the chili-pepper mills recognize me from my last visits. I am invited in their workshop to make more pictures, and bring them next time. It's a promise!

Tonight there will be an interesting program in a place called 'Hidmona' in the Expo area. Both the pilot of the Eritrean Airlines plane and my brother in law strongly advised me to visit the place. So a I have my shoes polished and go home to take a shower, have diner and some rest.

Just after 8 o' clock, I enter the pleasantly traditionally decorated Hidmona Bar and Restaurant in the Expo compound. We are welcomed by ladies in traditional white Eritrean dresses, trimmed with red decorations called 'Zuria'. Starting from 9 o' clock there is traditional Eritrean live music and dance until midnight.

  

Semaetat Secondary School - Bada Street Asmara Eritrea. 

Semaetat Secondary School - Bada Street Asmara Eritrea.

Eritrean national anthem - Semaetat Secondary School.

Eritrean national anthem - Semaetat Secondary School.

World Bank office - Saro Street Asmara Eritrea.

World Bank office - Saro Street Asmara Eritrea.

Villa - 173-4 Street Asmara Eritrea.

Villa - 173-4 Street Asmara Eritrea.

Mai Jah Jah - Gheza Banda Asmara Eritrea.

Mai Jah Jah - Gheza Banda Asmara Eritrea.

Just married couple - Gheza Banda Asmara Eritrea.

Just married couple - Gheza Banda Asmara Eritrea.

Mosque - Gheza Banda Asmara Eritrea.

Mosque - Gheza Banda Asmara Eritrea.

Sculpture at the cultural center - Gheza Banda Asmara Eritrea.

Sculpture at the cultural center - Gheza Banda Asmara Eritrea.

Workshop for kitchen utensils and grave ornaments - Medeber markets Asmara Eritrea.

Workshop for kitchen utensils and grave ornaments
 Medeber markets Asmara Eritrea.

Three young women in a chili-pepper mill - Medeber markets Asmara Eritrea.

Three young women in a chili-pepper mill - Medeber markets Asmara Eritrea.

Artist playing a traditional instrument (Watta) Hidmona Bar & Restaurant - Expo, Asmara Eritrea.

Artist playing a traditional instrument (Watta)
Hidmona Bar & Restaurant - Expo, Asmara Eritrea.

This Night Club in the Expo area presents traditional
 Eritrean live musicians and dancers every Wednesday,
 Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 until 02:00

 

 
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