Monday, October 28, 2013
“They also serve who only stand and wait.” ― John Milton, "Paradise Lost"
If you want to live as stress free a life as possible in Tanzania, you have to be good at waiting. The picture to the right is of a crocodile doing what it does, waiting for a meal. Everything takes a long time to happen here. This culture is like the "mañana" culture of Mexico but without that "urgency." Things just go slowly. My daughter-in-law frequently sends us packages, but those packages take at least three weeks to get here. My sister used to send me books (pre-Kindle) that would take three months to get here. They have a saying that in Africa "hakuna haraka" which means "no hurry" as well as a phrase "haraka, haraka, hyena baraka" which means that if you hurry, you will lose all your blessings. This is not a time driven society--it is event oriented. It doesn't matter so much when something happens as long as it happens. We know we have seven boxes of new shoes for the kids in the preschool that meets here in Musoma, but they won't be here until Wednesday. Almost a week to travel about forty miles by postal service. We know that people are sending us money, but even with Paypal (the fastest way to get funds to us) it takes about three days for the money to get into our account in the U.S. and two more days to wire it here. Of course, our bank is in Musoma, about an hour north of here, so it waits there until we can afford the diesel to go get it and work in some other things we need in Musoma as well. For those of you who live in a FedEx world where even the microwave is too darned slow, you would have trouble here. When we go to a restaurant, we take books to read. There is no fast food--they don't start cooking it until you order it, so every time we go out to eat, it takes about an hour or two until the food gets to the table. If you're reading and visiting with each other, the time goes by quickly enough. We also don't schedule more than one or two things to do each day. You don't need to multitask in a society that moves as slowly as ours does. I actually prefer it to the hustle and bustle (and ulcers) of the society we left eight years ago. We enjoy the excitement of anticipation knowing that a package is in the mail and will one day arrive because they always arrive. I'm sure there's a sermon there, but I haven't gotten around to preaching it yet. Maybe next Sunday.