Hagaz Eritrea - November 29th 2006
"Why did you wake up so early, Hansu
asks. She thinks I should rest when having my holidays. I guess Hansu is
used to the early morning conversation of the animals around her house,
but I am not. Even before 5:00 dogs are barking, the cock is crying that
the sun is rising, and sometimes one of the stupid beasts confuses the
lights of a passing car for the rising sun in the middle of the night. So
at 6:00 I usually wake up for the third or fourth time.
Hansu makes coffee and we eat some bread.
She will go to her work, I will accompany her to the bus station for a
short trip to Hagaz. A Toyota Van for twelve passengers, or more, if they
are willing to carry their children on their lap, brings us to Hagaz, a
small village between Keren and Agordat. The village is attractive with
many traditional houses, a mosque, a very small Orthodox church a covered
market and two hotels. Hagaz also has an
agro-technical school and some agro-industrial activity.
I leave the main road to wonder in the
direction of the hills on the north. Clusters of small houses are separated
by wide open areas. There are no clearly defined streets, the area between
the houses is used by herds of goats, cows, trucks, donkeys and camels.
People sell fuel wood, fruits or vegetables. The village breaths coziness,
but there is nothing that makes it really special, except of course the
warmth of the ever-smiling people, always asking if everything is okay.
Children are following me and want to be on
the pictures, jumping in front of me. "Sorana, sorana", they
yell, which is Tigre for picture us. Just to please them I make a few
pictures. They are happy andwant to shake hands.
The southern part of Hagaz is more compact.
Small alleys, and a lot of trees. Open spaces are used to display all
kinds of merchandize. No hamburgers, French fries, or hotdogs available in
the fast food restaurants. Some cups of tea in one of the small tea shops,
an egg burger and some fruit is my lunch.
After a few hours, I think I have seen it
all and I find myself a mini bus to return to Keren. At the Keren
checkpoint the military police recognizes me, so formalities can be
reduced to "Hello, I am back from Hagaz, you will find my name and passport
data in your log of this morning".
The rest of the afternoon I walk through
the center of Keren. Owners of the many tailor shops ask me me come in and
drink tea with them. They want to know where I have been, and what I think
of Eritrea. And, if I have been to any other African country. I guess the
are referring to Ethiopia.
Orthodox Church - Hagaz Eritrea.
Aman Hotel - Hagaz Eritrea.
Main mosque - Hagaz Eritrea.
Residential house - Hagaz Eritrea.
Traditional dwellings - Hagaz
Small scale trade - Hagaz Eritrea.
Beheaded Ethiopian tank -
Streetscape - Hagaz Eritrea.
Small scale trade at the bus
station - Keren Eritrea.
The illustrations indicate a
tu'umbak production facility - Keren Eritrea.