Located 357 km away from Asmara and lying on the vast plains of the Gash-Barka region, Tesenei is well known for its societal harmony. It is home to all nine Eritrea’s ethnic groups. Its residents live in harmony respecting their cultural and social values. The city is, indeed, the best example of beauty in diversity.
The residents of Tesenei are known for their warm hospitability and friendliness. Perfect strangers or visiting guests are always accorded warm welcome. There is nothing better than a glass of water for a visitor who is thirst due to the scorching sun. In cafes, restaurants and residential houses, it is customary for a visitor to be offered first a glass of potable water to drink and later have a bath. The kind gesture and hospitality continues with other treats. What is more, pots filled with cold potable water are always available for passersby on the streets of the city.
As the city is home to all ethnic groups of Eritrea, it is common for people to be multilingual. Arabic is widely spoken in Tesenei. For this reason, Arabic words are used in naming various goods and items. Talaja for refrigerator, Ajela for bicycle and Tore’a for water pipe line are just a few examples.
It is not an exaggeration to say Eritrea is quite well represented in Tesenai. Traditional outfits of all ethnic groups are commonly worn by all. The life style of the residents of Tesenei is a fusion of the Eritrean highlands and lowlands as well as that of the Sudan.
The people of Tesenei are cooperative in all aspects. They combat challenges together and they enjoy victories together. Assisting disabled people, nurturing the families of fallen heroes and victims of natural disaster are among their day-to-day activities. They construct roads and build houses for disadvantaged people. To make a difference, there is nothing they are not engaged in.
Car owners give free ride at funerals for people who go to the cemetery that serves everyone whatever their religion. Marriage ceremonies are not the sole responsibility of the in-laws, and all residents are guests at every marriage event. Also, irrespective of their religion, all the residents make a visit to a common holy water Known as “Enda-Gabir”.
Tesenei, also known as a land port, has five administrative areas named after historic events and places of the country. These are: She’eb, Selam, Fthi, Meskerem, and Sewra administrative areas.
She’eb, for instance, is a place in the Northern Red Sea region, where 400 civilian Eritreans were massacred by the Dergue regime in 1988.
Selam (peace) refers to the long awaited liberation and peaceful environment the Eritrean people had dreamed for long. Meskerem (September) is a month when all places are filled with daffodils and Eritrean farmers look forward to a bounty harvest. This month also signals the start of the armed struggle for Eritrea’s independence.
In the evening hours residents and visitors often walk on the streets, enjoying the breeze of the night. They also prefer to sleep outdoors to enjoy the serenity and breeze of the night. The city gets livelier at night. It gets chilly in January and February. The period from July to September is the rainy season, and it is the most liked season by the residents.
For the residents of Tesenei, refrigerator is by far the most valuable gadget. If they have a shelter and a refrigerator they do not seem to care much about anything else.
The Eritrean people are always admired by foreigners for their warm hospitality, and the residents of Tesenei are inarguably the best representatives of the entire Eritrea. Tesenei and its people are a reflection of the entire nation.
Cooperation, living in harmony, the culture of work and patriotism, which are common values of the Eritrean society, are well reflected in Tesenei.