{Post by the Husband} This is Zambia(n) Time

December 15, 2011 § 3 Comments

Tea for two

This morning I finished presenting at World Vision’s Gateway to Grants workshop in Chisamba (about an hour north of Lusaka) a few minutes after 10am.  After the session, I went outside to meet my ride, whom I had spoken to the previous afternoon and confirmed the time and place of my pick up.  However, my ride was not there.  One of my colleagues quickly got on the phone with the driver, and they proceeded to have a 5 minute conversation in Bemba (I think).  After the conversation, my colleague assured me that the driver was on his way.  I then said to him that I have lived in Zambia long enough to know that “he is on his way” can mean one of several things: 1) he is 5 minutes away; 2) he is 30 minutes away; 3) he is running another errand and will come after he finishes that errand; 4) he has not left yet but intends to leave soon.

My colleague smiled and then called back the driver to get more information.  Another 3 minute conversation ensued.  He then informed me that the driver had picked up one of our finance staff and truly was on his way.  I asked how long it would take them.  He said not more than an hour.  He then said to me in a soft spoken Zambian accent: “Ben, let’s have some tea.”

This simple contains many profound inferences.  It says, “Ben, you are too stressed about something unimportant, just relax”.  It says, “Ben, you are a busy mzungu who has many ‘important’ things to do, but the driver will get here when he gets here”.  It says, “Ben, you are in Zambia.  It’s time to do things the way Zambians do.  Your ride will come, let’s enjoy some tea while we wait”.  His advice was frustrating, humorous, and wise.

Let’s have some tea.

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§ 3 Responses to {Post by the Husband} This is Zambia(n) Time

  • Brenda says:

    Hi Laura, I loved this little story! I have some very close friends from Zambia and it is so true about their “don’t worry, just go with the flow” attitude — so refreshing yet frustrating for us at times. 😉 Thank you for sharing! May God bless you this Christmas and always. -Brenda Frank

  • Laura says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Brenda! Great to hear from you. 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  • […] all of the guests have arrived (a few hours after the starting time in concordance with Zambian time), the Matron will begin the introduction to the guests about the kitchen party. Historically, the […]

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