My first two weeks in the Pearl of Africa have been exciting, challenging, but most of all relaxing. It is no secret that flying from the U.S. to Uganda would mean adjusting to a new time zone: 8 hours ahead of my normal schedule to be exact. However, the biggest time change I have experienced here is the Ugandan sense of time. In the U.S., Americans are known for following strict timelines and punctuality is of utmost importance. In Uganda, time is viewed a little differently. Instead of rushing to get places and stressing about time, we enjoy every second of the day.
When I begin to get ready in the mornings, I don’t worry about the extra 5 minutes that I needed to lay in bed and relax, because I know that a departure time of 8:00am really means 8:20am. When we arrive in a village and the villagers haven’t arrived yet, I don’t worry because we have a chance to relax, soak up the sun, and listen to the sounds of nature while we wait for the hardworking villagers to come for trainings. In the end, everything works out. The villagers are always happy to see us and are very welcoming. We are always able to arrive and accomplish our goal of equipping people with the knowledge to succeed in their production practices.
I have always had a laid-back view of time compared to other Americans. My friends and family know that I will be late to any event or gathering that we plan. So, coming to a country where tardiness is not viewed as a flaw has been refreshing. I have enjoyed my first two weeks of slowing down and acclimating to a new sense of time in Uganda, and I’m looking forward to the next few months as I explore Ugandan agriculture.