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May 2011
Celebrating Eritrea's
20th Independence Day
 
Congratulations Eritrea
Eritrea - May 24 2009 - 18th Independence Day
20th Independence Day
 

 

Asmara Eritrea May 20 2011

 

After collecting my Travel permit, and making a few copies for an easy pass at the Keren checkpoints, I enjoy the sun, by walking the main roads, watching the shop owners decorating their shops, or have them decorated.

In a relaxed atmosphere I visit hotels, restaurants, travel agencies. And I make sure not to forget to peep into small bars lurking for excitement, and a drink of course.

The Castello restaurant, not far from the Sunshine hotel is one of my favorites. They serve good food (both Italian and traditional dishes) for a nice price, and you can eat it in a cozy garden restaurant. I choose the cannelloni with spinach. It is served with a variety of sauces and fresh bread. I have a fresh fruit cocktail as desert, served with syrup.

After my lunch I walk thought the Alfa Romeo district. The name of the district refers to former Alfa Romeo HQ in Asmara and the surrounding workers houses and apartments. A student walks with me telling me the district was built in the Italian era in the 30s and 40s.

Walking back to the center of Asmara, I meet Eden in her electric wheelchair on Martyrs Avenue. Eden is an Eritrean woman living not far from our house in Rotterdam. I don't know how she managed it, but unable to walk, she traveled from Rotterdam to Asmara to celebrate 20th Independence Day with her Eritrean family.

In the villa quarters in the center of Asmara I pass an office with the same wheelchair logo I saw on the May 14 exhibition of the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare. When I enter the compound, and ask if I can make a picture, I am invited in. It is the office of the Eritrean National War Disabled Veteran Association.

I am introduced to Gebrebirhan Iyassu, the chairman. He tells me that he regards it as an honor that I witness their Independence Day party. For me it is an honor to meet the unexpected hospitality.

Gebrebirhan offers me a beer. "Why don't you dance?" he asks. I tell him I am shy to be the first to dance (the dance floor is still empty) "They will follow you as soon as you start!"

An Eritrean woman in traditional clothes, and beautiful braided hair invites me. The Asmara biera's greased my muscles and reduced my shyness. I accept the challenge, and make some inviting moves towards the other women, still feeling little at ease with only the two of us on the dance floor.

In the Eritrean tradition it does not matter with whom you are dancing. I just chose a partner that inspires me the most. Men dance with men, in groups of four or even more. Their faces show happiness, their gesticulation teaches me their moves. I just observe my partner, imitating their moves and body language, enjoying the feedback of appreciation.

Very soon all the other workers of the office, including those in a wheelchair join those already dancing, with great enthusiasm on the rhythm of Tigrinya music. We celebrate, drink, and eat  with the ENWDVA staff until eight PM.

Because the Asmara biera's made me a little tired and unstable, i decide to take a taxi back home. At the Shida Square I negotiate a nice price. I ask the driver to take other passengers waiting as well. It will increase his income and I don't want to spoil fuel claiming my own taxi.

When we arrive in the Denbe Sembel area, the driver want to know the block number. When I tell him it is 105, last entrance, he is surprised. "Than we are neighbors, I live on the ground floor apartment of the same stairs!" What a coincidence. I must remember his face and cab number.

 

Segen Construction Company - BDHO Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Segen Construction Company - BDHO Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Castello Restaurant - Affa Romeo area Asmara Eritrea.

Castello Restaurant - Affa Romeo area Asmara Eritrea.

Traditional houses - Affa Romeo area Asmara Eritrea.

Traditional houses - Affa Romeo area Asmara Eritrea.

Modern houses - Affa Romeo area Asmara Eritrea.

Modern houses - Affa Romeo area Asmara Eritrea.

Spelling error - Affa Romeo area Asmara Eritrea.

Spelling error - Affa Romeo area Asmara Eritrea.

Former Alfa Romeo office - Affa Romeo area Asmara Eritrea.

Former Alfa Romeo office - Affa Romeo area Asmara Eritrea.

Eden and her niece - Sematat Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Eden and her niece - Sematat Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Appartments - Sematat Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Appartments - Sematat Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Office of the Eritrean National War Disabled Veteran Association.

Office of the Eritrean National War Disabled Veteran Association.

ENWDVA Independence Day party - Asmara Eritrea.

ENWDVA Independence Day party - Asmara Eritrea.

ENWDVA Independence Day party - Asmara Eritrea.

ENWDVA Independence Day party - Asmara Eritrea.

ENWDVA Independence Day party - Asmara Eritrea.

ENWDVA Independence Day party - Asmara Eritrea.

ENWDVA Independence Day party - Asmara Eritrea.

ENWDVA Independence Day party - Asmara Eritrea.

ENWDVA Independence Day party - Asmara Eritrea.

ENWDVA Independence Day party - Asmara Eritrea.

   ENWDVA Independence Day party - Asmara Eritrea.

ENWDVA Independence Day party - Asmara Eritrea.

ENWDVA Independence Day party - Asmara Eritrea.

ENWDVA Independence Day party - Asmara Eritrea.

  ENWDVA Independence Day party - Asmara Eritrea.

ENWDVA Independence Day party - Asmara Eritrea.

 

ENWDVA Independence Day party - Asmara Eritrea.

ENWDVA Independence Day party - Asmara Eritrea.

 

 
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