The Differences in Culture are Many
Indianapolis Indiana – There are a large number of cultural differences between western nations and Africa, and that is a fact. While some may carry serious, problematic solutions few are more frustrating than that of time management. The practice of being and doing things on time is far less significant for most Africans. This is seen in the construction project eight months behind schedule, the planning meeting put off for a half day due to the late arrival of attendees, or the church service or wedding starting 45 minutes to an hour late. The gap in cultural thinking is even more pronounced in the fact these examples are not seen as “late” to the Africans. After all, they were busy doing something else, they had to travel a long distance, or something else needed to be handled first. Also, few Africans have watches or clocks.
Now in defense of the African culture, one must admit putting your watch away and just “getting there when you’re done with the present activity,” can be very liberating. No breakneck rush to reach the door of the meeting room as the second-hand reaches 12. No more being late to church services even if you’re 20 minutes past the hour. It will start when enough people arrive. And no apologies are forthcoming since running late is part of the culture.
Monthly Newsletter Meets African Culture
For much of our journey in sub-Saharan Africa, now passing a quarter of a century, we have published some form of newsletter. It is almost always late because of the need to conform to a little-known checkmark on a western calendar, and inevitable conflicts with other pressing matters. Well, interestingly enough Africa seems to have the solution to this problem; why not follow the culture that is represented in the pages of newsletter copy? Why not do it when you get to it? Why not “occasionally” instead of monthly? Why not put away the clock with the second hand and deal with what is happening in the present? One can still produce 12 issues of an “occasional” newsletter, can they not?
Therefore, in order to conform more fully to the culture, and resolve the problem of being late with the electronic newsletter, we are going to try the practice of publishing the newsletter “occasionally.” We promise to be true to this commitment and ensure the release of the “occasional” newsletter.