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A quiet beer for dinner

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It’s almost 10pm on a Tuesday night in Njiro, a mellow outlying suburb of Arusha, Tanzania. I’m staying at a B&B just down the road from Farm Radio’s office where we’re running a week-long technical training for a group of techies supporting community radio stations.

It’s a bit noisy as at the moment – Phil Collins is playing on a radio up at the owner’s house and a man is talking loudly on a mobile phone nearby. Actually, that makes it quieter than usual!

Earlier today Tich & I forgot to make dinner arrangements at our B&B. Thanks to a hearty lunch when suppertime came round we weren’t  hungry enough to go in search of a proper meal. Instead, we walked up the road to the neighbour’s duka - a small hole-in-the-wall kiosk that sells an eclectic assortment of goods including Cold Beer.

Dinner Duka

Dinner Duka - friendly hole-in-the-wall kiosk

Dinner ended up being a shared Kilimanjaro beer with Bart, our host at Farm Radio. The 3 of us sat in the dark shadows cast by the kiosk’s light, side by side on the wooden bench against the wall.

A beautiful night sky sky provided a starlit canopy as we chatted quietly about life in Africa. Next to us a stranger sipped a beer and smoked a cigarette. All of us looked out onto the  dusty, uneven road in front of us and watched the dark forms of passersby.

An hour later we got up to pay for our drinks. Waiting my turn to pay, I leaned against the burglar bars separating shopkeeper from customer. Inside, sitting atop a table drawn up to the counter, a little boy concentrated on his homework, oblivious to the passing trade in front of him.

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