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Eritrea: Eritrean people

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Eritrean people | Eritrea | Africa

[Visited: January 2004]

One of the great things of traveling is meeting new people. This is fairly easy in Eritrea. People are almost always interested in visitors, perhaps because they are still coming in low numbers. Sitting in a bus, your neighbour will try to talk to you. Walking in a street, people might approach you and ask you about your background. People are genuinely curious about their visitors. Perhaps especially since traveling for them is, for many practical reasons, impossible, they see foreigners as their only way of contact with a remote world. This is true especially in times when their borders are closed.

Picture of Eritrean people (Eritrea): Young African girl in Galeelo

Wherever I went in Eritrea, it struck me that the people would approach me, would ask me questions, would help me out. At the same time, they would not bother me too much, leave me alone when I wanted to. I often felt handicapped, not speaking any of the local languages, and limited to using European languages in efforts to talk to people. It is true that some people, especially youngsters in the larger towns, speak English, and older people sometimes still speak a surprisingly good Italian, but otherwise, I often felt a clear language barrier hampering my contact with the locals.

Picture of Eritrean people (Eritrea): Young Eritrean students in Senafe

When they were speaking a language I understood, they confessed me their opinion about the government, always negative, talked about the problems and the future of their country, expressed their desire for the wars to be over, their wish to build up a country. The youngsters were remarkably keen to studying, investing in their future. Although the situation in their country is not easy, I always felt safe in Eritrea, often greeted with smiles. It is to these people that I dedicate this story.

Picture of Eritrean people (Eritrea): Chatting in shadow of Foro village
Picture of Eritrean people (Eritrea): Praying in front of Orthodox church, Asmara
Picture of Eritrean people (Eritrea): Chatting on bench in park, Asmara
Picture of Eritrean people (Eritrea): Boys in market stall in Keren
Picture of Eritrean people (Eritrea): Young children playing on beach with self-made boat
Picture of Eritrean people (Eritrea): Men walking the streets of Foro
Picture of Eritrean people (Eritrea): Conversation in the shadow, Foro
Picture of Eritrean people (Eritrea): Old caretaker near Zula
Picture of Eritrean people (Eritrea): Camel driver on dromedary, Buri Peninsula

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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