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Hadas Tecka - Eritrea

Hadas is an Eritrean woman in her mid 50’s. She lives in Asmara, Eritrea near the International Airport. The place where Hadas lives was built during the Italian occupation of Eritrea and consists of flat shale stones fitted one on top of the other. The Eritrean government owns the property and rents it to Hadas for approximately $15 per month. She lives in one large room and outside she has a small shed where she is trying to raise LSN donated chickens.

Hadas has a very difficult life but she is generally bright and cheerful. Her leg was amputated approximately 8 years ago. Hadas is single and has one daughter who is currently attending high school. In order to survive she has turned to several activities.

Her primary source of income is child care. She looks after a 6 month old child from a middle class working family in Asmara. During the day the child stays with Hadas. This has worked well but the family has recently moved and Hadas is unsure if they will still be able to drop off and pick up the child as the family’s house is now much further away. This income is not sufficient for her to live on.

In working with Hadas, the LSN outreach worker learned that Hadas is very good with chickens. Hadas asked that LSN purchase chickens for her so that she could sell eggs. Hadas is now well known in the community and sells eggs from her chickens on a regular basis. This income helps her to survive.

As is customary with most Eritrean women, Hadas was taught how to make very colorful traditional baskets. These baskets come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Pre 1960 the baskets were made with only traditional materials, ie grasses and natural dyes. Since the 1960’s it is now traditional that these baskets come in a wide variety of colors and designs using colored wool or cotton thread. Most wealthy to middle class Eritrean families have these baskets on display on the walls in their homes. The colorful baskets are rarely used for utilitarian purposes but are almost strictly made to decorate the inside of houses.

Hadas’ baskets are particularly well made and designed. She normally only make baskets by order (as she can not afford to purchase the materials beforehand). Depending on the size and detail of the design, a basket can take from one to seven days.

View the next profile: Seleshi

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