Thursday, April 21, 2016
“Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.” ― William Shakespeare
Growing up in South and West Texas and making several trips to border towns in Mexico and living near large Hispanic populations, I quickly understood what the “mañana” culture was all about. The word “mañana” in Spanish means “tomorrow” and that’s when everything would be ready. Your car would be fixed mañana, your order would arrive mañana, no matter what the event or what you were waiting on, it would always be mañana. It was a slow paced, easy going kind of culture with no hurry or hustle or bustle. This culture took a nap, a siesta, every day. It was a culture I liked. When we came to Tanzania, it didn’t take us long to realize that Tanzania was also a slow paced culture. It was like the mañana culture, but without that urgency. It was the mañana culture, but slowed down by a factor of five. Watches were not as important as calendars. We adjusted quite quickly and have come to love and embrace this slower pace and lifestyle that cares more about greetings and relationships than meeting deadlines or starting church on time. As there are few or no clocks (which need power or constant battery replacement to work), things are often measured by the sun. A cloudy day will mean late lunches since no one knows when the sun is directly overhead. Surprisingly, high blood pressure is one of the real problems here, but it is genetic in nature and not a product of a hurry, hurry lifestyle. In fact, they have a saying here that you hear a lot,"haraka, haraka, haina baraka"hwhich means hurry, hurry has no blessings. It is also very hot here with what they call “jua mkali” or fierce sun. The locals have adopted an economy of movement that gets things done without developing heat stroke. We don’t have FedEx here, it’s not a microwave society, things happen when they happen. We have learned the virtue of patience whether we wanted to or not. Your food may take an hour to arrive at your table at a local restaurant. If we order something on Amazon.com, it has to be shipped to my son, then shipped on to us, and usually takes from three weeks to two months. People mailing us packages know that two to three months is an acceptable time to wait. We don’t mind. When you know a good thing is coming, it makes the waiting a good thing, too. Right now, we have four to six packages coming from several places around the world. We don’t know when they will get here, but we know that they will get here and that we will be happy when they arrive. Have you ever heard of the “Second Coming” when Jesus will return? Do you know when that will happen? Jesus said even He didn’t know, but we know that it is a good thing and that it is coming. What counts is how we feel and behave in the meantime. Christ told us we would not know when it was going to happen but that it was truly going to happen. In the meantime, we need to live in imitation of Christ in His love, His caring, and His service to others. Something good is in the mail, we don’t know when it will arrive, but we are happy and content because it is coming. We are living so that we will be welcomed by Him when He comes. How about you?