Friday, January 8, 2010
Mozambican time is unlike any other time I am aware of. Paz, a Portuguese girl who begins working as a nurse in Maputo soon and has been visiting the mission the past week, said that the Portuguese are notoriously late, yes, but not Mozambican late. It is perfectly normal for people to show up one, two, or three hours late for appointments. One of my colleagues had an appointment with a student the other day to which the student showed up 2.5 hours late. After a couple encounters with her counterpart I asked Ann, “is she a flake, or is she just Mozambican?” And the idea of leaving before the start of something, in order to arrive when it begins, is foreign. If something (such as church) begins at 8 o’clock, you leave for church at 8, not at 7:45. I am reading Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin (a really wonderful book so far) and came across a line that was especially pertinent to me. Referring to the main character who was raised in Mozambique’s neighbor Tanzania, “Greg has never been on time in his life. Ever since he was a boy, Greg has operated on African time.” So perhaps it’s not just Mozambique. It certainly must be a negative for Mozambique when doing international business though.