So today I had two meetings that did not happen. They were scheduled – or so I thought. Not sure why the miscommunication. I won’t go into the details as to when or with whom. That is not important to my conversation. Why does it bother me when that happens? One of the things I like most about Uganda is the slower pace and lack of obsession with the time of day. Without their cell phones most Ugandans just might not know the exact time but would have a relative idea.
That is okay as the day is planned by events not timetables. Let me explain what I mean. If a meeting is scheduled for ten that means sometime in the morning. Terms are used such as midday or late day. Now I think midday should be high noon – but not necessarily so. And late day – no idea exactly when that might be. Remember the saying “to be on time is ten minutes early”? Not so much.
Please do not get me wrong. After fourteen trips I absolutely realize it is the culture and I accept that… except when I happens to me… So let me ponder why….
Traffic – unpredictable to put it mildly. Now that school is back in session the traffic in the city has multiplied. Jams are common. I am used to getting across town in twenty minutes back home with little variation except in bad weather or after an accident. Parents may travel quite a distance to drop off and pick up a child which compounds their already complicated schedules.
Rain – everything grinds to a halt until the cloud burst passes.
That explains late but still doesn’t account for ‘not at all’. I have learned that simply it is the way it is. Now I have some colleagues that have adopted the idea of schedules, confirmations and punctuality. But they just may be the exception.
So to my very esteemed colleagues, I adore you and please bear with me when my culture bumps head on with yours. I really am trying. I must know what not to take for granted.