Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Timing

I am falling back into the timing of life in Yaounde. Here are some examples:
- Laundry is best done and hung up before noon, so that it can be fully dry before evening dew. When it is wet, little flies lay eggs on it. If you wear the damp laundry, the eggs hatch and get under your skin, and you end up with a mango worm (aka screw worm) in your body. When Karen was small, we once pulled one the size of my little finger out of her thigh.
- A lot of stores and offices close at noon for lunch and naptime. Many open again by 2:00; some stay closed until 4:00.
- If we are around the one of the mission centers we try to not make noise from 12-2, because many people are resting ("la sieste").
- At three degrees from the Equator, Yaounde has very direct sun. It’s best not to be out for long from 10-2.
- Africans tend to be more event-oriented than they are time-oriented. If you invite someone to your house for dinner at 7:00, you need to be prepared for them to show up anytime between 7:00 and 9:00 or so. To them, what is important is that you invited them, they come and you eat together. The exact time isn’t important at all. What this means for us time-conscious Americans is a bit of a guessing game. For example, when visiting a church that starts at 10:00, we know that if we come at 10 we may have to sit around for 20 minutes before anyone else shows up and 30 before things get started. But if we show up too late (say, 10:45, although it varies from church to church), we may provoke an admonishment from the pulpit, reminding us that services start at 10:00.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing that disgusting story about me so that the entire internet can think I am gross. In my defense, I was little, and you dressed me. Love, Karen

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