Home away from home

I am now back in Asmara. This is my third visit to Eritrea. After a long journey from the University of California my flight landed at the Asmara Airport at 1:30 AM on 25 August 2017.

Originally, I had planned to return to Eritrea sometime in future, but in June I was invited to attend a wedding ceremony by Nahom Nagasi and his future wife Winta Habtom who are friend of Mr. Futsum Hagos, director of wildlife conservation.

I thought the wedding ceremony would be similar to an American wedding and would last about two hours. The wedding was scheduled to start at 7:00 AM the day after my arrival.

On Saturday, I had an early breakfast at the Sunshine Hotel and I told the hotel receptionist that I would be back shortly after 9:00 AM. Little did I know the Orthodox Church ceremony was only a small part of a traditional Eritrean wedding that would last for two days!

After the Orthodox Church ceremony, I stood on the steps of the church along with several hundred guests while photographers took photos of us together with the wedding couple. After about an hour, we drove to Techno Garden on the edge of Asmara.

Here we were served breakfast while we sat at tables placed on the lawn shaded by trees. Several other wedding parties were already at the park. Around noon we left the park. A large tent had been erected in the street in front of Nahom’s home. There were benches set in a square around tables. Groups of eight people sat at each table. We were served ingera to eat and suwa, a type of homemade beer, to drink.

I stayed for several hours enjoying the company of many friendly Eritreans, some of whom I had met on my trip to Eritrea last year. Every person that I met welcomed me. I think hospitality is a natural characteristic of the Eritrean people, because where ever I go I find the same characteristics. I was very tired from my long journey to Eritrea, so I left to return to my hotel in the late afternoon. Futsum told me the next day that the guests continued celebrating in the tent until after midnight.

The next morning the celebrations continued at Hawakil Park, which is located a walking distance from the Sunshine Hotel where I am staying. Here more photographs were taken by many people in the beautiful gardens.