Beleza and Adi Nefas - November 22nd 2006
A trip to Massawa and the Dahlak Islands
House International, tomorrow and the days after, limits the options
for today. I will do a one day trip & hike to the villages Adi Nefas
and Beleza. Tedros advised me to combine the visit of the two villages,
and walk either from Adi Nefas to Beleza or from Beleza to Adi Nefas,
because the two villages are connected by a path with a length of just
Beleza is a village close to one of
Eritrea's larger water reservoirs, 14 kilometers north of Asmara. It also
houses one of Eritrea's major power plants. Adi Nefas is a potential
mining area with high grade copper-gold-zinc
deposits, 12 kilometers north of Asmara. The area in between is
dominated by agriculture. Fields irrigated by the water reservoirs of
Beleza and Adi Nefas are cultivated for the production of barley, wheat, potatoes
and other crops.
At the bus station on Eritrea Square in
Asmara, I find a bus to Beleza. Later I would learn that the bus to Adi
Nefas will start from Acria and not from Eritrea Square. Just before
Beleza, the bus passes the water reservoir and the power plant. I get off
the bus, together with the workers. But when I plan to walk to the water
reservoir the military sends me back. I guess the area is to sensitive to
I walk a few hundred meters to the village
and spend one hour or so to wander around and to visit the church, the
flour mill, the water supply, and a small bar, before returning to the
mosque, where the path to Adi Nefas starts.
The walk to Adi Nefas is basically a three
kilometer easy to follow path, crossing a main road after some 500 meters.
Just to be sure, I ask the farmers every once and a while if this is the
correct directions. After half an hour and two kilometer I reach the Adi
Nefas water reservoir and I see the village on a black colored hill.
Therefore the last part of the hike is half an hour uphill, which makes me
wonder how a bus can reach this village.
The village is small and easy to explore.
It looks as if no foreigner ever sets foot here. Some people think I am
lost. In a bar I have a drink and egg burger The south side of the village
goes gently downhill and it is here where most of the houses are built.
The bus station is at the foot of the hill. Three small and very old buses
link Adi Nefas with Acria, a northern suburb of Asmara.
It is a six kilometers drive on a good
road. When the bus is close to Acria, the landscape changes in red colored
hills. I decide I will return to do the same distance in the opposite
direction on foot, a hike that will take an hour.
From Acria I walk back to the center of
Asmara. At 17:30 I have an appointment with Kibreab. After finishing his
work in the Housing and Commerce Bank, we will will drink some Asmara
beers. We have good reasons to celebrate. Kibreab guides me to Bar
Gurgusum, in Harnet Avenue, opposite to the Commercial Bank of Eritrea.
Behind the cold gray facade, you would expect a cozy bar.
The lady bar tender, Rita is a lady with
Italian temperament combined with the typical Eritrean virtues. She made a
dish with small pieces of bread with sardines, tomato, cheese and peppers.
She insists I eat enough to have my share of the dish. Her extrovert
character must be the result of her partly Italian lineage. One of her
grandparents was an Italian. She communicates with all the visitors of Bar
Gurgusum and makes them feet at home. I guess I should come her more
Volcanic landscape - Beleza Eritrea.
Hidmo (traditional dwelling) -
Farmers with their harvest -
Orthodox Church - Beleza Eritrea.
Water reservoir - Adi Nefas
Hidmo (traditional dwelling) - Adi
Traditional houses - Adi Nefas
Collecting water from the
water reservoir - Adi Nefas Eritrea.
View over Adi Nefas.
Rita, Bar Gurgusum - Harnet
Avenue Asmara Eritrea.