Wednesday, March 14, 2012

African Time

One of the biggest differences you'll come across when working in Africa is the keeping of time. While westerners are used to going through their days structured by a series of scheduled time tables, the same cannot largely be said for our African counterparts. Time and schedules here have a much more laissez faire feel, and a laid back approach to life negates the need to rush much of anything.

The result of this is a lot of waiting, waiting, waiting.

Surely there's a reason for this seeming lack of punctuality? Of course there is! Uganda is a place where social constructs take precedence over things like appointment times and rigid schedules. This, combined with a different way of prioritizing events and people, both expected and unexpected, is what in large part makes up the inner workings of African time. Say you're on your way to an appointment and you meet a friend along the way. It would be rude and socially unacceptable to just rush past without saying hello. Therefore the necessary time needed to go through the social motions is taken, regardless of whether it will make you late for your appointment or not.

This different approach to time takes a bit of getting used to, but once understood, you'll be keeping time like an African before you know it!

Written by Sarah Pietruszka
Vocational Development Intern

No comments: