Wednesday, March 26, 2008

E R I T R E A:
sketches of a trip.


I returned to Eritrea on my regular negdet (annual pilgrimage) from December 28th 2007 through January 18th 2008. I went back to film more footage for my Eritrea DVD project in order to fill the gaps which I felt were needed from my previous trip in August 2006. As a result of the previous trip a picture book entitled “Eritrea: Colors in Motion” was produced. Also, a DVD entitled “ASMARA: City of Radiance” is on its final stages. In this trip, my colleagues from the Audio Visual Institute of Eritrea (AVIE) and I filmed over 11 hours of footage. I would like to express a heartfelt appreciation for my colleagues at AVIE for the success of the previous and this latest trip, and to Dr.Yosef Lebsekal and the National Museum of Eritrea for their incredible support in helping us film in the spectacular archeological sites at Kohaito.

Here are brief essay sketches of my trip.


Two days after I arrived in Eritrea from Texas, after visiting my family there, 2008 was approaching fast and was staring me in the face. Fighting against my jet lag, it did not take me long to agree to an invitation by my friends who were going to hang out at Hidmona, a traditional restaurant/night club at the Expo ground in Asmara on New Year’s Eve. The place was packed to capacity, to the point where the people who were sitting in the two adjacent rooms of the restaurant were asked to dance in turns. The traditional band played various traditional, modern, revolutionary songs to the delight of the audience all night long. At midnight, champagne bottles were popped heralding the year 2008. Since I went from the US, my friends on my table believed that I was best qualified, or was it that they were being courteous of my guest status, to open the bottle of champagne. To their disappointment and to my chagrin, I was still struggling to open the bottle at 12:05 AM. With some help from competent people, I was finally able to pop up the bottle. With that ritual accomplished, we danced the night away! Despite the late opening of the champagne, my visit became very productive, compacted, educational, informative, as you will read in the sketches of my trip to be continued in the upcoming articles.

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