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May 2009 - Celebrating Eritrea's 18th Independence Day
 

 

Keren Eritrea - May 27 2009

 

After a perfect night (the cool nights in this mountain city are in sharp contrast with the daytime heat) I am waken up by the animals of Keren (cocks, dogs and donkeys).

Hansu brews traditional strong coffee and bakes me an omelet with kitcha. She gives me a key of the house, so I can enter the house whenever I want to. Or need to, if I suddenly need a toilet. Public toilets in Keren are open for everyone, but as a tourist you will not sit under a bridge that easy.

I visit the house of Mebratu and Lettemariam and their family. In 2007 I was their guest when their daughter Sina married. Sina delivered a daughter nine months ago. The family is happy with last years pictures and the small gifts I bring them (paracetamol, and two inflatable toys for the kid).

They prepare ga'aat for me, just like last year, and offer me araki. It tastes great, but again I am afraid it might spoil my stomach, so I eat only part of it. And as always, there is a traditional coffee ceremony.

Last year I was invited by a group of six students of class 7c of the St. Josephs School in Keren Lalay. They damaged the film in their camera and I promised to make them some pictures with my camera, to give them this year. 

With the help of the assistant director, I find two of the students at the school, so I can personally greet them, and hand them seven copies of every picture. They are very happy that I did not forget them.

When I leave the school and am already a few hundred meters from the premises, the two girls come after me "We have forgotten to ask for your e-mail address, so we can write to you!"

I also visit the new built Costino Hotel in Keren that started its operations on May 16 this year, to add it to our Eritrean information pages. It is a top class hotel, not far from the center of Keren on the road to Afabet.

The manager invites me for a guided tour, to proudly show me this very luxurious hotel. He shows me both the regular rooms (for 300 Nakfa per night) as well as the presidential suite that has its own office with a computer, fax machine and espresso machine (for 1000 Nakfa per night, May 2009 prices, these initial prices may be subject to change).

In the center of Keren not far from the market, I have lunch in the Shalal Restaurant. A local bean dish with beans, onions, egg, tomato and chili, called 'ful'. It is served with two breads and local water.

After my lunch, I walk through the outskirts of Keren, until I am tired. When I sit on the concrete stairs of one of the houses, I am invited to come in and rest in the living room of the house. My host offers me his best chair, tea, and hembesha (Eritrean traditional bread).

We chat about Eritrea, and the current situation. About Ethiopia's dreams and agenda in the East African region. "The virtual demarcation of the border with Ethiopia is finished a long time ago, but Ethiopia is still occupying our territories" *).

Eritrea has always fully accepted the Algiers agreements while Ethiopia, backed by the US administration is the grumbling party that has unilaterally brought the peace process to a standstill only because the EEBC ruling didn’t work its way.

We also chat about my travel experiences, my position in Eritrea, and my Eritrean wife. I show him the pictures of my family on a small digital photo frame. My host tells me he is working in the Zoba Anseba Administration Office.

 

Sina's baby - Keren Eritrea. 

Sina's baby - Keren Eritrea. 

Local scenery - Keren Eritrea.

Local scenery - Keren Eritrea.

St. Josephs School - Keren Lalay Eritrea.

St. Josephs School - Keren Lalay Eritrea.

Just opened Costino Hotel - Keren Eritrea.

Just opened Costino Hotel - Keren Eritrea.
P.O. Box 110 - Keren Eritrea
Close to the center on the road to Afabet
Tel. +2911 400303 Fax 400311

Costino Hotel Keren Eritrea - Presidential Suite    Costino Hotel Keren Eritrea - Presidential Suite

Costino Hotel Keren Eritrea - Presidential Suite    Costino Hotel Keren Eritrea - Reception

Costino Hotel Keren Eritrea - Restaurant    Costino Hotel Keren Eritrea - Bar

Costino Hotel interior (presidential suite, reception, restaurant and bar)

Traditional village - Keren Eritrea.

Traditional village - Keren Eritrea.

Local scenery - Keren Eritrea.

Local scenery - Keren Eritrea.

Medeber - Keren Eritrea.

Medeber - Keren Eritrea.

Medeber - Keren Eritrea.

Medeber - Keren Eritrea.

Medeber - Keren Eritrea.

Medeber - Keren Eritrea.

Alleys - Keren Eritrea.

Alleys - Keren Eritrea.

 


*) December 12, 2000 Eritrea and Ethiopia signed a peace agreement in Algiers, after a 2 1/2-year border war.

Article 4, sub article 15 reads as follows: “The parties agree that the delimitation and demarcation of the Commission shall be final and binding. Each party shall respect the border so determined as well as territorial integrity and sovereignty of the other party”.

On April 13th 2002 the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague published the conclusions of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission.

In September 2003 Ethiopia's Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, formally informed the Security Council that Ethiopia rejected the decisions of the International Boundary Commission (arbitration of the International Court in the Hague). He declared the proposed 1 000 km international border drafted by the commission as "null and void".

This disrespect of Ethiopia for the decisions of the Court of Justice in The Hague has practically halted the peace process.

 

 
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