Asmara - Eritrea October 19 2014
At 6:30 I wake up. A bright
sun is penetrating through the curtains. Birds are singing in concert in
the garden. First thing to do is to make an inventory of the luggage that
arrived in Asmara and a listing of what did not make it. Just in case I
will have to make a claim for my travel insurance. Now it is easy to
describe what is missing.
In addition to the standard baggage for a country with
a tropical climate and circumstances, I
took useful gifts for children and adults. For the children I have bags full of
pens collected at trade fairs and received from Logica colleagues in 2012. A few bags
with balloons will add to any party or as a quick win for small children I
will meet. And lots of candy of course.
Several dozen packs of
painkillers is a small but useful gift in a country where a large part of the population has no money to
surpress the pain. Chocolate is what women want. Therefore I bought four
boxes for various occasions. Two weeks later I have to conclude that I
should have taken at least ten boxes. For Dawid I bought two bottles of Johny
Walker in the Amsterdam Airport tax free shop.
I also brought a dozen of
flashlights as I was informed of regular power outages in Eritrea. I
took some emergency led lighting with rechargeable
batteries both for myself and as a useful gift. You better be prepared for
the dark in Eritrea. Some typical Dutch
delights like cheese complete my mini gift shop.
My wife added some packages
for various family members and a shopping list. It will be enough to fill my agenda for the
first days and a good opportunity to cruise through Asmara on foot and see
what is new and if I still know my second home town. I will ask
Dawid en Luwam if they can contact two Eritreans by phone as I also
received two third party express deliveries with only a name and a
telephone number. I trust the senders, but I also experienced a lot of
waisted time in history searching remote districts, and I have two weeks
to spend in Eritrea only.
And finally I always bring some extra money.
A percentage of my holiday budget is reserved for the poor, and in Eritrea it is customary that you bring
a gift when visiting friends or family. I will buy them in the local
shops. Eritrea is a poor country. So the money itself is a
widely accepted gift as well. And I will buy loads of souvenirs, result of three years requests for Eritrean
handicraft from friends and family in The Netherlands. I will buy them in
Asmara, or Keren.
I've also brought some work for the tailor
with me. All the clothes that are too long or broken went into my suitcase. The tailor near the market knows me now and in the past
he stitched some very nice souvenirs for me (covers for cushions, traditional clothing for two teddy bears).
As a result the tailor
will have some extra income and I will come back with clothes that will
fit as useful return luggage.
I will do all deliveries on
foot. Buses are cheap but crowded. Cabs are expensive, and last but
not least I promissed myself to loose five kilo's of body fat in the
coming two weeks to get in shape and recover from western welfare and
stress. Exercise and proper diet for revitalisation of the body. Stolling the streets of Asmara is the most attractive way to experience
its population, architecture, the details, and the lovely climate. And
walking is a precondition
for nice pictures of everyday life.
Instead of following the wide
roads, I also follow the Asmarino's who know the shortcuts from A to B,
walking on the edge of a diversion canal that have replaced the small seasonal
rivers that used to flood the streets and houses in the outskirts of
Asmara. Passing small agricultural plots you would not expect in the
capital of an African country. Eritrea is well on its way of becoming one
of the biggest success stories in the Horn of Africa.The secret lies in
its citizens of purpose, discipline, and hard work evident everywhere in the
country and within every age group and gender.
Dawid and Shewit and kids
(Magdalena and Nehemia) - Asmara Eritrea.
Luwam - Asmara Eritrea.
Kohayto Street - Asmara Eritrea.
Residential housing Maakel Katema - Asmara Eritrea.
Bicycle race - Sematat
Avenue Asmara Eritrea.
Sunday meeting of family and
friends - Asmara Eritrea.
Keshi (Priest) - Asmara Eritrea.
PTZM line no 9 to Sembel - Sembel Asmara Eritrea.
Sembel Elementary School -
Sembel Asmara Eritrea.
Sembel Elementary School -
Sembel Asmara Eritrea.
Modern shop - Sembel Asmara Eritrea.
Diversion canal (canalized seasonal river)
- Sembel Asmara Eritrea.
Grandma Tsehaytu with two
Alana - Sembel Asmara
Berhe Aiba Hotel - Night Club - Pizza delivery - Airport Road.
Corea Housing Complex block
107 - Asmara Eritrea..
Denbe Sembel School - Corea
Housing Complex Asmara Eritrea.
Salena! (Picture us) -
Agriculture - Shortcut from
Corea Housing Complex to Godaif.
Lulia - Asmara Eritrea.