Sunday, May 08, 2005

Where I live : Eritrea

Its a small blog about the country where I am presently working.

Eritrea is a country situated in a very strategic location in the horn of Africa, along the red sea. Peace has slowly crept in after years of civil war against the soviet backed Ehtiopian dictator from whom it freed itself in 1990 only to wage another war over the use of red sea ports again in 1999. The country is run by US aid through the UN. No points for guessing why its important for US to secure this region. One look at the map and it will be clear. This corridor along the red sea is very important for US to safely ship out the oil from its soon to be middle east colonies. Remember, the blunder of not capturing the island of Malta in the Mediterranean, cost Hitler his war against the allies. Otherwise, we would have been born in a different world order. And US is trying to learn from history!

You can associate Eritreans with two Ps. Firstly they are Poor and secondly they are very Proud. The neighbour and its main foe, Ethiopia from whom Eritrea won independence after a long bloody civil war,is landlocked. It was fabulous to learn that the origin of coffee is from the Ethiopian high lands (formerly Abyssinian High lnads). The taste of abyssinian coffee can put any so called "degree copi" from south india to shame. I hope to carry some back home.

The people here look closer to the arabs rather than a typical african. Prostitution is rampant in this country. Even a school going boy will know enough english vocabulory to tell you that his sister is available for a few dollars!! But one thing very remarkable about the Eritreans is that even in thier poverty, they are honest. They wont kill you for a hundred shillings as the kenyan thugs do with impunity in Nairobi. Every passing eritrean will wish you irrespective of whether he knows you or not. Every second shop is a bar or a shoe shop. You get such wonderful leather shoes here, that can give any leecooper or red tape or bata a run for its money. And its very cheap.

When I see the ethnic eritreans deep in the villages of interior Eritrea and the way they lead their life, happy and blissfull even in their abject poverty, with minimal comforts of modern days, I am reminded of these famous lines of John Denver:-

"Life is Old here
Older than the trees
Younger than the mountains
Blowing like a breeze"

How so true!


Karthik "KK" said...

Hey MK...

Lucky that u are gettin a chance to experience some things which a normal person can only dream of experiencing mate.. :-)

Njoi n tc

Revathi Krishnan said...

HI Karthik,

I think it is great to be in Eritrea. It is shame to know about Prostitution. You mentioned a brother promoting it. Did you ever get a chance to visit such families to see their condition of living? Can we do something to stop it? No wonder why AIDS is prevalent in Africa.
How about the food? IS it a tourist place? Do many foreigners live there?