Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oh Lord Won't You Give Me...Some Patience Please

My two visitors from last week remarked that we are living quite a privileged life. This made me think, and of course I came to the conclusion that it is true. It's an exciting life, full of opportunities to explore extraordinary nature, a variety of cultures; always living in comfortable houses, with large gardens and house staff.  

In a way we live like stars: we have housekeepers, cooks, sometimes even personal trainers, a nanny; we can go to the salon every day, have our toe nails painted weekly, our eyebrows trimmed neatly and our hair blow-dried each Friday. We can live in luxury while most people in the country live in poverty. We buy weekly groceries worth more than a local monthly salary. It is all true. I realize that.

I also know that famous stars always pay a price for their living style: mostly their absence of privacy. You could say that  as expats we also pay a price. There are security threats in most countries, the hygiene is not the same as in western countries - to put it nicely -, we have nerve-racking traffic jams, mosquitos, ants and other creepy crawlies, and so on. Personally, I have learned to live with those inconveniences.

What I find most difficult to accept is the fact that it so hard to get things done in most developing countries. Days seem to trickle by without concrete output. Weeks go by without notable achievement. It's always tomorrow, next time, next week.  Madagascar is no exception. Everything takes long: receiving mail, making a bank transfer, licensing a car, clearing a container, getting insurance cards, you name it.  Let alone trying to build up a project, establishing relationships. A project duration of one or two years seems like a joke.

Even our 5-year old daughter has a watch

Do you know this African proverb? African people may say: They have the watches, but we have the time.
By 'they' they mean us, Westerners, and 'we' is the Africans. It seems so true. Time is on their hands, and patience is not something we learned to have when we grew up.

Therefore my prayer, in the spirit of Janice Joplin.
Oh Lord, don't you buy me Mercedes Benz, just give some patience, I must make amends.

A M E N !

1 comment:

  1. Good luck with developing patience... It comes with acceptance, experience and unfortunetly , with the passage of time... (for some)..
    keep looking for it as you would look for something you love.