African Melancholy

Country road – vacant, no traffic. Suddenly footsteps. A woman, carrying firewood, then a farmer on a motorcycle, bringing a sack of sunflower seed to the oilpress. Dustclouds hover over the road as he passes her. The sound of the steps and the motorcycle fade away. Silence again.

Dry season – the bush will drop it’s leaves. A dusty heat hovers over the gravel road.

There are times where there are more people on the road, going to their fields in the morning, coming back home in the afternoon. People on motorbikes, sometimes carrying the most obscure cargo: a bed, constuction wood, a boat…, a bus going overland… Rural life develops its own dynamics, it seems unbelievably slow! But people take into account that things can and do interfere. There is a car that has broken down. because of it the farmers arrive at the oilpress at closing hours. Their seeds cannot be processed that day. So they improvise an overnight stay. Slow does not mean unreliable. Tanzanians usually are on time, they just do not have a tight schedule, because they need to take time for a chat with the neighbour, the business partner … Relationship is important.

Tanzanians say: “The white man has the clock, we have the time.” Now, tell me, which is worth more?

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