Thursday, April 02, 2009

Keeping Time

I just had a meeting canceled on me because I was running 10-15 minutes late, this is actually early for African meeting standards, at least from my experience, but the meeting was with an American who apparently hasn't adjusted to life here. With meeting times, if we muzungus don't adapt to the idea that meetings will always start between 15 min and 1.5 hrs late, we won't last very long here without some sort of break down.

For those of you who may be visiting for work, or are new to this idea, here are some tips:

1. Bring something to work on - this way you won't get too enraged/worried about the work that you're not doing back at the office.

2. Bring something to read - I caught on to this one in the Peace Corps when I didn't have a laptop to haul around with me, incidentally it was the two most literary years of my entire life.

3. Show up late - I haven't really adjusted to this one, as it seems to perpetuate the whole problem. But then again, as per the story above, I guess I have kind of adjusted... I've heard stories about government officials purposely showing up an hour late to big meetings because they know it won't start until then. Then again, the Prime Minister here just shows up on time and berates the diplomats and government officials who show up even 5 minutes late.

4. Schedule the meeting for an hour earlier than you need it to start - This one works well if the meeting is at your place of work or where you'll be anyway