Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My Turn to Wait

Because I'm only in and out for meetings, this is my impression of Managua, traffic

I always hesitate to write about being stressed out for multiple reasons. First, because I believe I’ll eventually look back on this and think ‘I was stressed out about that?!’ Second, because I don’t want to be a big whiner while other people get to deal with much much worse. Lastly, because it’s never fun to visit a site where the person posting bums you out.

But if you want to know what life is like in a developing country, this is an important part of it for me. Nicaragua won’t change and I won’t change, at least not to the degree I would need to to not be stressed out by this part of the culture.

An example. Yesterday, I had a couple of meetings in Managua. Marlon decided to come along because he is feeling out of the loop about what is going on with the project.

All kinds of traffic

This means we share a car and driver. No problem, we’re headed to the same meetings. This also means that Marlon will want to stop by one of the houses we rent for older kids and check on them. I understand having done this routine with him and Raul countless times. And not only does it mean that when a situation arises at the house that he needs to deal with, that I have to wait, but that it is culturally appropriate for him not to bother with telling me what we're doing (or that plans have changed, or give a approximately close estimation to how long it's going to take).

Now, if this were an isolated issue, I would grin and bear it. After all it was only four hours of my life. Or if this were an issue with Marlon, I would find some way around it. But this is a cultural issue, it happens with nearly everyone nearly every day. Granted, I’m not usually trapped two hours away from my office and the work I need to do. But we all depend on each other in professional situations. It’s these relationships that make it work (or slow you down).

I am unflinchingly American (or Developed Countrian) in my love of schedule and adherence to factual information. But I also wasn’t ignorant of how these things tend to slide this way and that before coming here. Sure, sometimes it means my hopes are dashed that we will accomplish things as quickly as I sometimes think we can and maybe it will mean an eventual stomach problems from grinning and bearing a little too much (or swallowing the prickly ball as my sister describes it), but there are good sides to this too. Now I just have to remember what they are….

Lake Managua

1 comment:

NJA said...

Looks kinda like LA =)