To see ourselves as others see us

Clock tower on old churchThe arrival in my home of a colleague from Malawi has caused me to reflect on my life and surroundings. This is her first time out of Malawi and she is astonished by my washing machine, my dishwasher, the amount of food I eat and the size of my flat. That is all reasonably predictable. What surprised me more was her astonishment at the lateness of the start of our working day. That her lost luggage had no chance of being delivered before 9 am (when they promised ‘morning’) left her speechless. That lost luggage is very common was a surprise to her.

Time-keeping, is predictably, an issue. While Malawians start their day at 5 or 6 am, they don’t rush around very much thereafter. How we can get up so late but we are breakfasted, ready and heading to a meeting within an hour seems odd to them. But we don’t have to make a fire before we make tea, nor collect water, nor wash dishes. It’s easy for us to be on time!