30 July 2010

Please be patient- this is Africa

> Not sure why I'm only seeing my photo and not my story... So let's
> try this again.... Moble blogging- good stuff if I can get it to work

> My friend said to me the other day: "we africans, we are very good
> with DAYS but not so much with time."
> At the time it made me laugh and nod my head knowing that time is
> not always measured on the same scale here. A party might be
> scheduled 5 for 5:30 meaning that they'd really like to start near
> to 6, so intentionally give a wide margin and then give another as
> well. When we plan a lunch with friends, we'll say 1:00 But have
> learned that means at 1 we'll start walking around to find the
> people we've arranged with-and then we will talk for a while and
> then we will walk around some more to see who else is nearby and we
> might end up to lunch near to 2:30. It's just how it works and we
> have tried to strike a balance within what some call African time.
> But it is also the time of central America and south America. It's
> the time of farmers and artists and vacations and it's the time that
> Andy Griffith lived in. Maybe it's not "Africa time" ... Maybe it is
> real time and we as a junkie culture have warped it in the name of
> industry and productivity into something that now controls us.
> I heard a story this week about a rural village that was visited by
> a philanthropist. The gentleman noticed how the women of the village
> had to walk 5k each day to fetch water- and walk 5k home again with
> a heavy bucket balanced on the heads. The job took the better part
> of every morning. He was excited to be able to run water lines into
> the village providing instant access and freeing the women up from
> such hard and difficult labor. Six months later, the man returned to
> the village to find the pipes had been dug up and broken. Of course,
> upset and confused, he blustered for an explanation. The elders told
> him that in the previous months the women in the village had fallen
> prey to an epidemic no one could identify. Many of them were
> depressed, irratable and lethargic. As the source of this mysterious
> illness was probed into, it became clear that the women were used to
> gathering each morning in groups of two or three and walking
> together - talking, inquiring, sharing the journey and sharing life
> with each other for the hours it took to collect the water. Without
> this task, they were suffering from a disconnection from their
> community. The very thing that was designed to make their lives
> better was the thing that isolated them from the connections they
> very much needed.
> We have not grown beyond the need for community. In our rush to
> chase productivity, we have lost the value of walking a journey
> together. Of slowing down so we can truly live life together. I
> don't know that we have a solution for this- or even do a better job
> than most. But we are awakening to an awareness that we find great
> value in Africa time. In making room for deep breaths and
> togetherness.
> Now, 20 minutes at the edge of the construction road might not be
> inside that window... But I suppose we take the bad with the good...
> And we wait.

1 comment:

  1. Trace, I don't comment often, but am always so glad to read your posts and see your pictures. I need such beauty and thoughtfulness in my life. Thank you for sharing your lives with us!


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