According to African Time It’s Time to Go When the Time is Right
“So 11am we shall go and visit the Fa priest, ok?” says Chaka several times during this trip.
Exactly at 11am Terje and I are there. Or 10. Or what ever time Chaka asks us to come. Charlotte offers the chairs for sitting, but we don’t accept them – we will leave in a second. Charlotte is grinning. We are waiting. Waiting and waiting and walking around nervously. Eventually we agree to sit down much to Charlotte’s content.
Terje and I are there on time. Maybe Chaka had too much work to do and that’s why we continue being late all the time? But now at least we are smarter. We sit in the chairs while waiting, eat the offered breakfast and then dream of going. But for some strange reason we still never reach the priest by midday.
11 o’clock probably meant 12 o’clock we think to ourselves when we carelessly walk into the garden an hour after the agreed appointment. We take the chairs and expect Charlotte any time to come with food. We talk too Chaka’s customers, buy pineapples for lunch and finally sit on Chaka’s motorbike to “just pass by another place before going”. Later, of course, it’s too late to meet anybody.
Before meeting Chaka we decided to do some things. Sleep longer, eat pineapples in the streets, go to internet, talk to local ladies and.. where’s the hurry anyway? We finally reach Chaka, who seems to be quite surprised by our late arrival – four hours after the appointed time. But Chaka is still not ready. Then Terje predicts: “I assume we won’t get to meet the priest before 6pm.” Chaka laughs at it and shows his willingness to go with putting on his party clothes. But we all know how it’s going to be. First a joint, then food, then friends coming over, lunch passes by.. and Terje is right. We don’t start moving for another hours and by that time the priest has left the house.
Adapting in Estonia
We are invited to have a author’s night in another city. After seminars in school we start getting ourselves ready. Talking in the streets, shopping for food, packing the stuff. And suddenly we realize that in just 2 hours we are expected to be in a place 4 hours away. Then the African Time and European Time are meeting under the radar of a policemen.
Where does the trash go? – Where ever
There is just one field where owe cannot accept the local manners – everything that is concerning waste and its management. Trash in the streets doesn’t surprise me already for a long time, but trash in the home gardens makes me completely sad. Chips packet is empty – on the floor, cigarette is done – on the floor.
When finally we take ourselves together and make some remarks on their environmental knowledge and aesthetical sense, Chaka listens to the White Woman responsibly and now throws the trash on the other side of the wall. Only in Chaka’s house the other side of the wall is also his garden.
“Once a month there is a trash collector, then we clean it up,” he tries to convince us, though the rusty tin cans tell another story. After week long discussions how to keep your environment clean, we try to see the results and organize two bins in the garden. Now Chaka and Charlotte are under surveillance and like kids they start laughing nervously when they forget to throw the trash into it. If something falls on the floor a hem can be heard from us and the most respected man in town humbly collects the plastic from the ground. It even reaches that far, that when having a picnic on the beach, all the leftovers from seafood are being put into a plastic bag.
But by that time we have made their understandings of trash so complicated, that we decide not to touch the subject of organic and unorganic items.