African time is like no other. If you plan to go somewhere, expect to leave about 2 hours after the decided time. There’s always a program for an event (and an MC), but it’s flexible. Here, you eat when you’re hungry, and you sleep when you’re tired. We start when we’re ready and we finish when we’re done.
Mass can be two hours or an all day event if it’s a big celebration, and there’s always announcements at the end since that’s the main means of communication. No bulletin to spread the word. Meals can be an event of its own, too! At a restaurant, they bring a cup of tea, let you sip and visit, then you order and food takes a while to come out. Even fast food isn’t very fast.
Everyone here even jokes about it themselves and says “we’re not wasting time, we’re creating time.” I like that concept because time is what you make of it. Instead of thinking of it as waiting, now I use the chance to just “be” – talk to the people I’m with, admire the surroundings, and take it all in.
I’ve had to consciously slow myself down when walking around town or school so I don’t leave someone behind. Usually I rush to get ready in as little time as possible, but now I take my time in the morning. I sit and enjoy my cup of tea, instead of standing in the kitchen waiting for the water for the shower to boil. I am guilty of wanting to cram my days with things to do or sightsee, but I actually like the slower pace. There’s no hurry and I’m so much more relaxed. Somehow, everything always works out and everything gets done.
Luckily, taxi drivers are not on African time, and my ride is here on time to pick me up for the airport. Spending the weekend in Malindi celebrating July 4th weekend with Ashley and some other Americans. Happy Independence Day to everyone back home!