Hakuna Matata, it means no worries in Swahili. Megan and I have learned the importance of this phrase. If we didn’t use it on a regular basis we would probably have pulled out all of our hair by now. I will share one reason why to be ready to use this phrase. African Time. Everyone here in Kenya runs on African Time. The basic formula breaks down to something like this: Add 2-3 hours from the time that was set and one may only have to wait 20-30 minutes past the new time-that is most of the time. Sometimes it ends up being 4-5 hours after the scheduled time. For instance, last week we waited for 5 hours for an immigration officer who, on arrival, told us that he could not help us renew our visas. Something he easily could have told us over the phone. But that would have been too easy.
To be fair, if you are stuck in an infamous three hour traffic jam in Nairobi or the road to your destinations is literally under water or the local transportation is on strike, then it is only fair to be understanding of peoples tardiness. That brings us to the phrase Hakuna Matata. If the car breaks down (which happens daily), or the taxi runs out of gas (also a regular occurrence), instead of getting angry, one must take a deep breath and say, “Hakuna matata.” If someone is 3 hours late. Heck, if someone is 6 hours late, Hakuna matata. Life is a grand adventure and the delays and the missed appointments are just another opportunity to smell the flowers, take in the scenery and to have a few moments, or hours, to be still. How nice it is to have a break from the constant borage of TVs, Angry Birds, emails, phone calls and just sit in a chair and wait for someone that may never show up. It is a great opportunity to read a book or watch the interesting people that go by. So, what is the important thing you must know before coming to Kenya? Take it easy. The locals will be late. They will be late picking you up from the airport and late for your morning game drive. They will take forever to get you your food and they will get your order wrong. However, if one can take a step back, there is beauty in it. There is a virtue in this culture that we have all but lost where I come from. Here is my advice. If you are planning a trip to Kenya, leave your watch at home, whatever you do, don’t forget your Kindle (you will thank me later when you have something to read while you wait) and be ready to say, “Hakuna, Matata” a lot! P.S. We are so blessed. There is one exception to the rule: our Kenyan director who runs our operations here in Kenya is always on time. If for some reason he is going to be a few minutes late he always lets us know! He is the best Baba!! Joseph
Don’t forget to pick up a kindle. It take a little bit to get used to but if you try it, I doubt you will ever go back. I prefer the basic version