Mari's Adventures

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Ghanaian Time

As stereotypical as it may sound, in certain situations Ghana operates on its own time. The best situation being the case of taking the tro-tro. Like I said earlier, tro-tros are mini-vans or mini-buses that pick up people between two points. They depart from tro-tro stations, but when they leave is determined by when the vehicle fills up. This can take up to several hours if there are no other people heading in the direction that you're heading. Although this is not so much the case in Accra where there are many people taking tro-tros, in more remote areas where there are less people and if you are traveling a long distance, then waiting for the tro-tro to fill up can be a routine process.

It is in these instances where the patients and endurance of the Ghanaian people are showcased. They sit quietly in their seats, without complaining about the heat, while I impatiently keep asking the driver when we are leaving, in which I always get the same response "when the tro-tro is full."

In these situations, westerners and Ghanaians have the opposite concept of time. In the west, we think of time as the one thing that we do not have control over. Time ticks away without us being able to manipulate it. We are consumed by time and all of our actions and planning is dictated by it. On the other hand, Ghanaians see time as something that they can control. Maybe not so much control, but it is not something that they are consumed by. Even in the office when we have meetings, it never, ever starts on time. Ghanaians control time in a way by not being consumed or dictated by it. An event will happen when it happens, not when it is supposed to happen.

These are some of the things I need to get used to as I'm the type of person who hates being late and likes to stick to schedules. Much can be learned form the Ghanaian way of life.


Blogger Deena said...

Hi Mari,

Just got your email and thoroughly enjoyed reading about the rainy season and the spurts of torrential rain that you get in Ghana.

With regards to "Ghanian Time" I think it's very interesting how the mindset of people living in another culture can be so different. I remember reading somewhere that N.A. are very "me-centred" while in other cultures you find that people are more concerned with working together rather than being so self-absorbed!

Keep up the good work btw!


3:14 PM  

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