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This article highlights Yerusalem Yohannes, a friend of mine, who is from Eritrea, located in East Africa.


Painting of a woman holding the Eritrean flag to represent their independence




Yeru, family and friends wearing traditional clothing called tilfis


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Eritrea is home to 9 different ethnic groups (Yeru belongs to the Tigrinya group) and there is no official language or religion which supports individuality. Despite their differences, each person takes pride in themselves and their culture which is easily shown through their beautiful clothing and art. Gold and silver body decoration is rich in the Eritrean culture. Earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and even crosses are made in these precious metals. However, they are rare and usually unaffordable in rural areas so women usually wear jewelry made from a variety of beads strung together with wooden pendants and worn around their heads, necks, wrists, and ankles.

I love the fact that there is not one specific culture, religion, or ethnic group that is dominant. There are Christians and Muslims that are neighbors and they love each other equally as brothers.

-Yerusalem Yohannes


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Eritrea is known for making beautiful handicrafts such as basketry from dried leaves and colorful threads and pottery which vary in size and design. However, Eritrean crafts are not typically made for marketing or even as art, they are simply used in daily life for things like food storage and preparation. Many people have full-time jobs making things from placement mats to breakfast plates. It is a very basic, yet profitable and valuable skill to have in Eritrea.

Picture 1: painting at a National Park of women from 3 different ethnic groups: Nara, Rashaida, and Tigrinya; Picture 2: Realism painting by Eritrean artist, Michael Adonai; Picture 3: handmade food basket made by Eritrean artist, Rigat Tesfasion




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John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls' High School

311 N 19th St.

Philadelphia, PA 19103

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