Asmera . nl  
 
Eritrea May 2007
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
  01 02 03 04 05 06
07 08 09 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      
             
 
Eritrea June 2007
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
        01 02 03
04 05 06 07 08 09 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30  
next page >>   << previous
May 2007 - Celebrating Eritrea's 16th Independence Day
 

 

Keren Eritrea - May 26th 2007

 

Today I will go to Keren - by public bus - to be in time for the Festival of Mariam Dearit. It will be visited by ten thousands of people, resulting in a possible shortage of (public) transport a few days before (and after!) the festival. A shared rental car is an option, but for Eritrea you need an Eritrean drivers license, a procedure that will take at least a day, and some budget.

Although I am wealthy enough to rent a car, the price of the return trip - even by cheapest rental car - would equal two time the monthly salary of Hansu, where I will stay for a few days. So I would be a bit embarrassed to show up at their house with an expensive rental car, while the price for a trip by public bus is 23 Nakfa only.

When I arrive at the bus station at 8:00 a bus is just arriving. People make a run to the bus, but I am much closer, and not prepared to move an inch when I am surrounded by the many passengers who are trying to get in. I have a front seat, close to the door, with a nice view and a perfect place to get in and out at the checkpoints.

There is three of these "Sawa checks" on the road to Keren. It is nothing more than a rope, functioning as a barrier and a stop sign next to the road. Some tents or a small office houses a few military men, that will ask you for your permit and log the basic data in an exercise book, so the Eritrean authorities will have records of all movements of foreign visitors.

I guess this logging of movements is not (only) for statistical data, but also for security reasons. The ongoing attempts of Ethiopia to hinder the peace process makes the Eritreans very alert for saboteurs and espionage. But as a tourist with a good conscience, there is no reason at all to fear these checks. I usually start with a firm handshake and "selam" before I hand the officer my permit and bus ticket (for the registration of the licence plate number).

On route, the bus is also checked by the Eritrean police. These checks are merely the result of traffic, tax, and safety regulations. The number of passengers should not be more than the number of seats in the bus, and the bus is checked for necessary papers and its technical state. Sometimes the tickets are checked, to prevent any non registered payments by passengers.

At 11:00 I am in Keren, where I start with the regular program: Enjoy some of the delicious fruit juices at the bus station, egg with kitcha at the snack bar of Nazret Kidane and her family and two Asmara beers in bar restaurant Stuttgart with Elen and her daughters Hidat and Rahel.

After satisfying my stomach, I walk to the house of Hansu and Afeworki. Since they are both working, I cannot enter their house until 13:00 anyway. Hansu gives me the spare key of the house and suggests I should rest, but I prefer to walk through the village and meet the unexpected. The sky is clouded, resulting in good climatic conditions for a long walk.

I pass streets that have recently be transformed from dusty, bumpy dirt roads into straight black asphalt roads, with a sewage pipes network beneath it and modern street lights and just planted palm trees on the neat sidewalks. It is one example of Eritrea's on-going endeavors to reach a higher state of development.

Children want me to picture them. Some want a Nakfa, but I ignore their request. They should learn to work for their income, and not to beg for it.

When I am back in bar restaurant Stuttgart to add some liquid to my body, my shoes changed color from black into the desert sand color. They need some cleaning before returning to the house of Hansu and Afeworki. I ask Hidat if she heart something of Ali, who caused some trouble last year. "He returned and offered his apologies. He was drunk.", Hidat answers. "There will be a wedding in our restaurant tomorrow, you HAVE to come", she kindly addresses me.

What happens so many times, happens again. I pass a house where another wedding is celebrated. I HAVE to come in, sit down (in the best chair), try the Suwa, and have something to eat. One should be careful with food and drinks and especially with suwa (which is made of tap water and has fermented some days) but as a regular visitor of Eritrea I am resistant to most bacteria.

People a joining me asking me where I came from, what I think of the feast, and of Eritrea, and are offering me more Suwa and araki, to make sure I feel okay. I did not have a chance to bring a small gift, but this a not a problem. At the end of the wedding, during the last dance, a bowl is carried through the tent, where the visitors can drop a donation.

 

New offices of the Commercial Bank of Eritrea in Keren.

New offices of the Commercial Bank of Eritrea in Keren.

Today's Investment (Warsay Yekealo Campaign), Tomorrow's Prosperity! Theme of Eritrea's 16th Independence Day - Asmara Eritrea.

Today's Investment (Warsay Yekealo Campaign), Tomorrow's Prosperity!
Theme of Eritrea's 16th Independence Day - Keren Eritrea.

St. Michael Catholic Church - Keren Eritrea.

St. Michael Catholic Church - Keren Eritrea.

British War Cemetery - Keren Eritrea.

British War Cemetery - Keren Eritrea.

British War Cemetery - Keren Eritrea.

British War Cemetery - Keren Eritrea.

British War Cemetery - Keren Eritrea.

British War Cemetery - Keren Eritrea.

New built residential area - Keren Eritrea.

New built residential area - Keren Eritrea.

Rusty memories of the 1961-1991 war of liberation - Keren Eritrea..

Rusty memories of the 1961-1991 war of liberation - Keren Eritrea..

Marriage celebrations - Keren Eritrea.

Marriage celebrations - Keren Eritrea.

Young dancer rewarded with a Nakfa - Keren Eritrea.

Young dancer rewarded with a Nakfa - Keren Eritrea.

 

 
| Home & index | Top | Contact | Next | Previous | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2011