>When? Why? Where?

One of the most difficult things to get used to here in far away Ghana is the apparently different approach to time.

It is not as simple as many Europeans think, “that Africans are always late”, instead it is something closer to “Africans are always flexible”. They deal with non-complete or vague information, waiting, delays, contingency and the likes a hell of a lot better than the average Swede…
I have three examples from work.
1. The most common thing people tell you is “I am coming, eh!” meaning that they came to your office to tell you that sooner or later they will be returning (When? Why? Where?).
2. Like when I ask my co-worker about when people will be getting days off for going on a weekend retreat next Saturday and he cheerfully(!) replies: “we’ll come back Sunday evening and then we go to work on Monday again, no days off!” (What? I work on a weekend and there’s no compensation?)
3. When I got to work today around 8.30 am three people are sitting in the lunch room enjoying a meal that to me looks like lunch (damn, what time is it? You break after 30 minutes of work? And it’s not even time for coffee break!)

And, sadly, when I get to the lunch room around 10 (coffee) and later at 12.30 (lunch), I now expect to sit there alone.

Update: Just came back from a two hour lunch with a hilarious and nice collegue…so, here’s a work example of that flexible is also nice, it does allow for two hour breaks when the moment is right.

Photo: Isaac Kweku Adu

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