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Month: June 2005

Urban Drought

Eritrea is in its fifth year of drought. Most of the major water supplies for the capital have been consumed and there are only small amounts remaining for municipal and agricultural use. Who knows how long this water supply will last. Asmara’s most important source of water at the moment is the Toker Dam.

Toker Dam is the largest reservoir in Eritrea to do date. It also may be the only reason that the most populous Eritrean city has not had to promulgate water restrictions. At the time of construction some railed against the project as a lavish project by an ignorant government. Those naysayers have surely been silenced now.

Trip to Fil-Fil

On the way to the project site in the Fil-Fil National Park I learned a little bit about the project. The road, which begins in Asmara and ends at the intersection of the Afabet-Ghatelay highway is a road designed only for tourist adventures. Because of this, as close to zero impact construction methods are being utilized as much as possible. Interestingly, before we arrived at the site (a half hour out of Ghatelay) we passed what seemed to be an oasis in the sun-parched plain.

It was the home of a Warsay-Yikalo division practicing desert farming. This oasis used the water from a river that would be dumped into the Red Sea to water crops. Surely this same method could be copied throughout the plain (with significant investment of course). Further up the road of course was the Fil-fil National Park.

Desert Oasis


So this afternoon when I was walking back from work I noticed something very peculiar. I was minding my own business waiting for the traffic to pass so I could cross the street. Finally there was an opening and I stepped forward….almost onto a woman who had just cut me off. It didn’t hit me until I got to the other side that the woman was not Eritrea!

She certainly didn’t seem to be UN, they tend to walk around with a mentality that they are better than the people here, but this woman was simply lost in her own world. This wasn’t the most distressing part. When I finally got closer to my home (only two blocks further down the street) I saw two Mediterranean women get out of a cab. I guess that shouldn’t be too surprising, they might have even been left over from colonization.

Kids playing!

While walking back from work this evening I noticed something incredible. As I was coming home I saw little Eritrean children running around playing on the street. It was awesome just seeing little kids running around, I don’t know why but it just put a smile on my face to see it.