Panoono panoono

Very rarely have I seen a Zambian person run. I run around all the time. Time efficiency is important in our Western life. In Africa, time is not a dictator. Time is always there. It’s the only thing all people got plenty of. “Panoono panoono”, they often tell me. Slowly. Take your time.

The ferry should have left at 10 am. At 12 pm, they are still loading the boat. Zambian time…take a deep breath. When you are here, it doesn’t make sense to push things, to hurry up. It’s lost energy because you cannot fight the system. Still, it drives me nuts sometimes.

Even the dogs adapt to Zambian time:)

One thing is the system, the government, the infrastructure. Nothing works like it should be working and there is not much you can do about it. The other aspect is how Zambians perceive time. Time is not a thing that rushes you. The ferry doesn’t leave at 10 am. The ferry leaves once everything is loaded and all people are on board. The information that the ferry leaves at 10 am only serves as a rough idea of when you should go to the harbour.

I often feel like wasting my time. Waiting for the bus, for the boat, for the food to be ready, waiting for electricity to come back, waiting for the immigration officer to finish his chat on Facebook. Many things go wrong in this country but I am quite sure that less people die of a heart attack than in The Western world. Not be be in a rush all the time can be quite relaxing indeed. I try to look at it from Balu’s perspective: „Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities. Forget about your worries and your strive.“

Published by caribiologist

Postdoc at the University of Basel, Switzerland

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