I’m Eritrean. There’s a big difference, and I refuse to categorize myself with people I do not identify with. So if you’re Eritrean calling yourself Habesha, you might lose some respect from me. It just shows how much you don’t really understand the struggle…
Its exactly 2 weeks and 1 day, today, since I came back from Eritrea. Brought in the New Year under the showers of light amongst people that looked and sounded like me. Spent Lidet with boon brewing, Areki, good food and women in rainbows of colour sharing laughter and wickedness. Went down the winding roads of Masawa and drove under the bright blue sky surrounded by volcano smoke and sheer mountain drop, swam at the beach in Gergasoum and drove around the streets of Masawa which was steeped in beautiful history, buildings and darkness. Visited my father’s land and home and met my oldest relative in Deboub Adgena. Went to Deki Amhare and visited my sister, met my cousins and mourned the loss of her son. Shared unspoken, untended love. Each trip brought me closer to peace and belonging. Not once did I feel like I was on holiday, from the moment I landed I felt I was home. It felt more home than London has ever felt. Words fail me or even feel inadequate to explain how I felt being there. I was born in Saudi Arabia and was raised there until I came to England to live. I have only been to Eritrea when I was 5 and went back for a 2 week holiday 4 years ago so it makes no sense to me how a place I have only been to for pockets of time can feel so much like home than the place I have spent almost my whole life growing roots in. But belong I did feel. My time consisted of beautiful people, laughter, himbasha, eritrean tea, boon, the warm sun, clear blue skies, shiro with injera, being in the present, getting a brush with the past, making new memories, family, LOVE, taking risks and being fearless. And the list goes on. But the thing that struck me the most was how people just got on with things. They had more than less compared to the people in London but they didn’t stop for one minute to lament their luck or ruminate over their fortune or life but just got on with it. There was no pressure of any kind; it was literally a life of just getting up and getting on with it surrounded by family, friends’, laughter, talks and good boon, loads and loads of boon. I wished I had taken more pictures but my camera kept playing up, hopefully I will get to take a SLR camera when I go back this Summer. And now I guess its back to
surviving living in London, reality, taking risks, making new memories with loved ones, and growing.