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May 2009 - Celebrating Eritrea's 18th Independence Day
 

 

Adi Hawesha - Tselot - June 2 2009

 

With the brief description of an Eritrean living in the United States, I will do the hike from Adi Hawesha to Tselot. He wrote me it is a cake walk of less then ten kilometers through the countryside outside Asmara. Tselot is the ancestral home of President Isaias Afwerki.

I start the trip at Bloko Godaif, where the road splits into two Southern routes. A marble post dating from the Italian era, decorated with an eagle, mentions the distances to the major towns between Asmara and Northern Ethiopia.

Here the busses are fueled before their trip up to Senafe and Adi Quala. Many mini buses wait for their passengers to nearby Southern destinations.

I am lucky to occupy one of the last seats in the bus to Adi Hawesha. in less then half an hour I arrive at the starting point of my hike, 14 kilometers from Asmara.

From the main road I walk a few hundred meters to Adi Hawesha, and I ask an old man the directions to Tselot. He suggests I better take a bus because Tselot is very far from here. I explain today's challenge, and he accompanies me to the perimeter of the village, where the trail to Tselot starts.

The first part of the trip is a cake walk indeed. But after some time the trail gets narrow, going down on the shoulder of the hills. And than there is no trail at all. I try to discover footsteps, and when I cannot find them, I I have to choose: find the way back, or to give it a try to find my way with the help of my shadow and some luck.

I choose the last option, because I lost the trail anyway, and it will not be easy to find my way back. There is hills in front of me, behind me, on my left and on my right. The vegetation is hostile as well: bushes with thorns on very rough rocky grounds. The idea that I might have to spend the night in these hills scares me a bit.

But I promised you that this diary will be the convincing evidence that Eritrea is safe, hospitable, and a social adventure, so there is no reason to worry. Sooner or later I will find a track to whatever what village.

After half an hour I observe houses uphill on a distance of two kilometers or so. Did I walk in a circle and is this Adi Hawesha? When I mention the name Tselot to a group of children resting near a well, they confirm that I arrived at Tselot. I am happy. All I have to do is find the most efficient way up.

When I rest on a stone in front of one of the small houses in lower Tselot, an old woman opens the door to see who is disturbing the silence of this place. When she sees me, she sends her granddaughter, who is able to communicate in English.

"Come in to my house, to rest", the girl says. I drink my water and the family offer me oranges. Meheret will go to school in half an hour. She will accompany me, and show me the easiest way uphill and the direction to the bus stop.

For the girl it is a daily routine to clamber the hill, for me it is very tiresome to follow her. But if I don't, I will have to find my own way, and that will be even more fatiguing.

In the central square of Tselot, near the kindergarten and the elementary school we wait for the minibus that will bring us to Kahawta. My only gift left for Meheret is a pack of original Dutch chewing gum, and I pay for her ticket. We say goodbye.

I return to the center of Asmara by bus, where I will celebrate my survival with fruit juices and beer.

 

Bloko Godaif - Asmara Eritrea

Bloko Godaif - Asmara Eritrea (a transport hub where the
 road splits to Dekemhare/Senafe and Mendefera/Adi Quala.

Bloko Godaif bus station - Asmara Eritrea.

Bloko Godaif bus station - Asmara Eritrea.

Traditional house (Hidmo) - Adi Hawesha Eritrea.

Traditional house (Hidmo) - Adi Hawesha Eritrea.

Traditional house (Hidmo) - Adi Hawesha Eritrea.

Traditional house (Hidmo) - Adi Hawesha Eritrea.

Traditional house (Hidmo) - Adi Hawesha Eritrea.

Traditional house (Hidmo) - Adi Hawesha Eritrea.

The track from Adi Hawesha to Tselot - Eritrea.

The track from Adi Hawesha to Tselot - Eritrea.

The (now narrow) track from Adi Hawesha to Tselot - Eritrea.

The (now narrow) track from Adi Hawesha to Tselot - Eritrea.

View on Tselot from the valley - Tselot Eritrea.

View on Tselot from the Tselot Valley - Tselot Eritrea.

Water supply - Tselot Tahtai Eritrea.

Water supply - Tselot Tahtai Eritrea.

Traditional houses - Tselot Tahtai (lower Tselot) Eritrea.

Traditional houses - Tselot Tahtai (lower Tselot) Eritrea.

Up the plateau again to Tselot Lalay (Upper Tselot) - Tselot Eritrea.

Up the plateau again to Tselot Lalay (Upper Tselot) - Tselot Eritrea.

Traditional houses Tselot Lalay (Upper Tselot) - Tselot Eritrea.

Traditional houses Tselot Lalay (Upper Tselot) - Tselot Eritrea.

 

 
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