A Window to the Past: St. Maryam Dearit

Just a few kilometers north of the Italian War Cemetery in Keren is a quaint, graceful site familiar to elders in the country called St. Maryam Dearit. It’s symbolic and serves as a destination to anyone looking for Maryam’s forgiveness.

Maryam Dearit has a wooden runway leading up to the shrub – a Baobab tree almost 20 meters off the ground – with a mural behind it. I remained silent in the walk there, gazing in the Dearit’s might as the curiosity to view it up close only grew. Once in front of the tree, I recall a participant questioning the mural’s significance, but I didn’t stick around to hear the response because in the moment nothing could have diverted my attention to feeling present in the moment.

People soon formed a line in front of the tree to photograph the statue of Virgin Mary inside of it.

When my senses realized the growing clamor nearby the front of the tree, I wandered right and discovered a tiny fountain that turns on at your command. It resembles any drinkable water fountain found off-center at any New York City park.

I presumed the station signaled a chance to clean yourself by washing your hands and feet before prayer.

According to the Ministry of Information, Dearit is believed to have been around for 500 years. It was built in the 19th century by a group of French nuns who wanted to establish Virgin Mary’s statue in town and was eventually granted to do so. This base also helped to protect Italian soldiers from a British plane in 1941, explained in the Keren section of Eritrip – a guide designed to help the Diaspora and other visitors navigate the homeland.

The site visit might have lasted 45 minutes, but it remains a favorite on the tour. Plus, legend says women who desire to get married or born children should prepare coffee in front of St. Maryam Dearit, and any traveler that receives their coffee grants their wishes. Can you think of any holistic, fertility clinics like this one in the United States?

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