“From the smiling Afar woman to the beaming Hidareb gentleman, the internal and external beauty enables you to take pleasure in it. You realize that you want to remain there forever and be in awe of the beauties that seem to have eluded you all this time.”
By Meron Abraha
A land of undiscovered treasures, Eritrea has been endowed with a stock of diverse tourism resources. These yet unexplored natural, historical, cultural and archaeological wonders pose great potentials for the country’s future in tourism, making it an ideal and fascinating tourist destination.
From the sweltering heat of the Danakil Depression to the cool mountains of the highlands, Eritrea has been deemed as the land of startling contrasts and one of the four great civilizations of early history.
Its nine ethnic groups united as one people offer visitors a hospitality that has to be experienced to be believed and the chance to discover a new dimension in exciting cultural experiences, a glimpse of a different Africa.
One thing that stands out as a distinct Eritrean feature, and one that has earned its people great praise and admiration from visitors, is hospitality.
Giaccomo Lombardi is an Italian tourist who came to Eritrea for a 10-day visit and ended up falling in love with the people and culture of the country.
When I met him, he had just returned from a three-day excursion to the Dahlak Islands and was completely mesmerized by the experience.
“While on the Dissie Island, I ventured into the inhabited part and was really surprised to find the dwellers all eager to welcome me into their homes,” Giaccomo said and went on saying that he lived a first-hand experience of what he had heard about Eritrean hospitality before. Seeing is believing indeed!
The Drum of Harmony
Eritreans have long been associated with the great notion of hospitality. When it comes to welcoming guests no other peoples can do it best other than Eritreans. And that radiates pride for us.
Music (traditional) always makes part of the hospitable welcome that each ethnic group accords its guests at any given time. And a common instrument that features in all the groups is the drum.
Whether hung on the shoulders or beaten by hands or sticks on the ground, its beat always emits a distinct message for every occasion — be it for welcoming guests, launching campaigns or other activities…
During welcoming ceremonies, men sway with their swords while women ululate and dance off their feet to the beats of the drum. As a guest you find relief and contentment with the warm reception being accorded to you and in no time you are busy exchanging greetings with your fellow country folks.
“Welcome!” “Thank you!” “How are you?”
As the drums keep beating the pleasantries follow, enabling you to realize that in spite of our diversity, our unity always prevails. The Eritrean culture!
Anywhere in this country, a stranger can knock at a house and his hosts won’t hesitate to prepare him a meal worthy for a king. That’s the spirit of Eritreans towards welcoming guest to their homes.
Sharing your blessings is and has always been a national value well instilled in the minds of our people. They let you in their homes and offer you all they have, on top of their brotherly love and affection.
Being on a trip you resist the temptation of staying for a longer time and just linger for a while, fascinated by their hospitality. And then you proceed on your way only to find warmer receptions.
Even in the vicinities of the hottest place on Earth, where the village of Sireru, the most elevated place in the region, is situated, warm hospitality is guaranteed. The residents
are very humble and hospitable and they welcome their guests with traditional music and dancing. Even if they don’t share the same language as their guests, the language of love and respect brings them even closer.
As if you haven’t heartily appreciated the affectionate welcome at Sireru, that of Fodie, still a village in the same region, totally puts you at a loss of words for their humbleness.
There and then, you forget your differences and realize your likeness. And deep down inside you feel it: that can only be preserved by staying united at all times.
Beauty Never Lasts…
Beauty has its own time and place. The attire you liked, the tattoos you noticed or the appearance you admired… all have their own way of impressing you.
From the smiling Afar woman to the beaming Hidareb gentleman, the internal and external beauty enables you to take pleasure in it. You realize that you want to remain there forever and be in awe of the beauties that seem to have eluded you all this time. One thing is true: your eyes have already had their feasts.
And before you have stopped admiring all the attractiveness around you, you are reminded that you have to depart, yet to find more beauties to marvel at.
You would like to stay on for a little longer but it’s just as they say: good things never last long enough…