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May 2007 - Celebrating Eritrea's 16th Independence Day
 
Congratulations Eritrea
16th Independence Day
 

 

Asmara Eritrea - May 23rd 2007

 

After tea and breakfast with Gebrehiwot and his family, I visit a tailor that usually does the clothes of Mebrat. For 20 Nakfa only (one Euro) he shortens my army trousers. I also show him a small teddy bear. It should be dressed in Bilen traditional cloth. "Is it a boy or a girl?" he asks me. I did not expect this question. We have some fun studying the animal, and decide it is an it. It doesn't matter anyway, because it only needs a shirt. I am a regular customer, he offers me tea, while waiting for my trousers to be shortened. The mini shirt will be finished on Friday.

Next destination will be the Medeber markets and workshops. To bring some pictures, and make a some new. As usual I have to promise to come back to give them their pictures. I spend an hour watching the boys, who restyle oil cans into all kinds of cooking utensils. It is a continuation of the diligent spirit the Eritreans cultivated during the 30 years struggle for independence: working hard and with its own internal resources.

 The women refine the chilly peppers, that is dried and grinded and mixed with other spices to become a mix called berbere. When entering the workshops, the miniscule chili particles fill the air, making it difficult to breath. The girls protect their nose and mouth with a scarf, while standing next to enormous grinders, filling them with bags of dried chili peppers. 

At 12:30 most shops and offices close, since it is the start of the National Holiday. I enjoy the sun, fruit juice and spend the time walking through Asmara, until the town awakes in the early evening. 

Thousands of Asmarino's gather on Harnet Avenue, where music sounds from various stages. Dancing people on the streets, joyfully celebrating the 16th anniversary of Eritrea's independence, and hundreds are sitting on the steps of the Cathedral, watching the fests. Bars are very crowded, and soon their supplies of non alcoholics is finished. Iin the Embasoira Hotel, a few hundred meters from the main street, I find some free seats and mineral water. I have some rest in its cozy lounge.

In Harnet Avenue I meet friends and family, but also from Keren and Dubarwa, who came to Asmara to celebrate this happy event with their family. Photographers of many photo shops picture families with the beautiful illuminated main street as background.

At 0:00 a voice amplified by the many loudspeakers mounted on the poles of the street lamps, and thousands of people on Harnet Avenue count down from fifteen to zero. Colorful and loud fireworks light the sky above the center of Asmara, and in concert with the bells of the Cathedral indicate the start of 16th Independence Day.

 

Old-timer Fiat - Medeber market Asmara Eritrea.

Old-timer Fiat - Medeber market Asmara Eritrea.

Stalls selling and processing chili peppers - Medeber market Asmara Eritrea.

Stalls selling and processing chili peppers - Medeber market Asmara Eritrea.

Shop assistant - Medeber market Asmara Eritrea.

Shop assistant - Medeber market Asmara Eritrea.

Decorated post office - Nakfa Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Decorated post office - Nakfa Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Decorated gate - Warsay Street Asmara Eritrea.

Decorated gate - Warsay Street Asmara Eritrea.

Decorated gate - Airport Road Asmara Eritrea.

Decorated gate - Airport Road Asmara Eritrea.

Decorated facade - Ministry of Education - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Decorated facade - Ministry of Education - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Local children - Asmara Eritrea.

Local children - Asmara Eritrea.

Decorated facade - Ministry of Tourism - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Decorated facade - Ministry of Tourism - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Asmarino's gathering on Asmara's main street - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Asmarino's gathering on Asmara's main street
Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Asmarino's gathering on Asmara's main street - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Asmarino's gathering on Asmara's main street
Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

24-05-2007 0:00 fireworks at Eritrea's 16th Independence Day - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

24-05-2007 0:00 fireworks at Eritrea's 16th Independence Day
Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

 

 
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