In the Eritrean tradition, whole villages of people gather under the Big Tree to create community and live in harmony – enjoying coffee and meals together as if the tree’s shadow were an extension of their living room.
Feeling a sense of community
With the exception of the capitol city of Asmara, Eritrea is composed of small communities and villages. They conduct their village business and community meetings under the watchful eye of the big trees. The serving of tea, coffee and snacks is a very traditional and welcoming practice to anyone who visits their home or village.
About our building
The building in which Café Dejéna is located is filled with history as well. It is the place where the Eritrean refugees would come together, seek support in this new, strange country and make new friends. We supported the Eritrean struggle for independence here in the building through the Eritrean Students Association.
In fact, Café Dejéna's building was the first site in Oakland where the Independence of Eritrea was announced in 1993 and then celebrated for two straight months!
We opened Café Dejéna 7 years ago on December 22nd, 2003. It started as a place for the Temascal neighborhood to gather and has grown from there. It’s now a place for old and new friends to come together, share a meal together and enjoy life.