|In Mbeya a man talks to us and asks us for money. Begging we have of course experienced a thousand times, but we had decided before the trip that we don't give to people on the street. We give a set amount of money to a worthy cause in each country we visit. But when the man tells us he has AIDS and has to feed his starving children at home but he doesn't have enough energy to work, its very hard to feel ok about saying No. Its hard to know where to draw that line between right and wrong but as another traveller says to us later, you have to just follow your instincts.
For the first time on the trip we have a hotel with international news channels. What bliss! Sitting in the hotel watching SKY news, we hear the sound of drumming down the street so we take a walk. Following the sound down a dirt track to a little cluster of houses we find a group of young kids dancing, singing and drumming. We are quickly noticed and invited to come and sit down and watch. The dancers stamp their feet and arch their backs in time to the beating drums and sing in a wailing voice. Its wonderful to watch and i would love to join in and try it myself but they are a professional group practicing for their show in Dar in a few days we hear. When rehearsal is finished the group are eager to chat to the "mzungu" (us) and they ask us to write in their guest book, give us their business card for the "Sombe Sanaa Group" and invite us to pray with them. Ummm.... ok. Eyes closed and holding hands is luckily all that is required of us!
The group close up shop and we wander a little further down the street and find two men playing trumpets on the street and we laugh at the irony; have we somehow discovered the music street of Mbeya?! Frode is inspired and the next day decides that we need to stay one more day, buy a guitar, and go back and play for them ourselves! So we do exactly that! Frode, for those of you that dont know, plays the guitar very well, and we find a really nice guitar which is ... well.. cheaper then it would have been in Norway. The next day we watch the kids dancing again as they practice every day, and they are intrigued by the guitar we have brought with us. They want to try and play it and are very impressed when Frode shows them what he can make it do! Back in our hotel room we watch the news again and hear a story about a gay couple who tried to get married in secret in a hotel room in Malawi. The hotel manager had called the police (homosexuality is illegal in Malawi) and the couple had been paraded down the street where angry people threw stones at them, and they are now standing trial. An interesting introduction to the next country on our itinerary.