I read a book describing demography and continents.
I have read Africa is the continent of poverty of people. Africa is a continent where inequality is still a reality. Africa is a continent where changes are always brought by externals. At least with the support of externals.
The same externals arriving to the international airport. I was there, to pick up a person. I was perfectly on time. Dropping the taxi, buying the entrance ticket, running the way to go inside.
In front of me people standing. Silence. Patience. Feeling of nothing. The only thing around: a crowd. Waiting. No lighting panels forecasting how much will it take. You are there.
Time runs, you don’t.
You stand and wait. No running anymore. and while you stand there’s no meaning of complaining. No way to escape the situation. You can wait. No options.
While waiting I look around me. there are children, mums, dads, young people. They just wait. In the same way. When no backdoor ways are available the concept of time changes. Is the time of now. Is the time of taking your chance when is your turn, any other moment else.
Is that strange? Before leaving, the main repeated advice my friends were addressing to me, especially the one that used to work with me, was to learn how to be patient. I saw all the people I used to stress to be on time, even in advance on DDL, not because of a proper reason, just because is better to be, feeling the sake of a revenge knowing I would have worked in Africa. The place where everything is slow. At least is fast on delay.
Running. To take a train. To be home on time to sit all together to have dinner with my family. Running to win the high school championship. breathtaking. Red. Paining. Tired. But winner. that was what mattered.
Running after 12 hours studying. Running to free my mind. Running on my hometown hills. looking at the sunshine. feeling the heart beating. Tu-thum. tu-thum. One step more. tu-thum. Thoughts flowing. Dreams. I passed the hill hundred of times. Everytime a different thought. but overtime positive. Everytime generating energy and will. The will to go on. to go faster. to train more. to fit more. To come back and check that everything I was studying was sticked in mind.
Running. for the sake of running.
Children playing on the street. under our windows. sleeper at feet. looking like gum ball to play. Volleyball. Soccer. Basketball. ..ball. is just a game, isn’t it?
They smile. They are happy. the play. they are a group. A lot, actually. What else? they do not seem to be affected by any type of “time consideration” issue. “stress issue”. do they need to run? they do. And the run. Super fast. On the street. on the ground. On mad. Up and down from stairs and cement hills. Soon everything around the compound will just be a green grass field. For now, they run. No problem.
Once again, for the second year in my “full time AIESEC Experience” I am about to build a house. furnishing it. Allocating beds, people, clothes, wardrobes. [and overtime trying to reduce them]. Entering the compound with a taxi. on the roof: 4 mattresses, 1 stove, dishes, carpets for 6 room floors. In the end it was just raining. One plastic cover, what else do you need to cover them while crossing the all city?
We are visibly foreigners. We are visibly moving into the house. We are visibly traveling at 30-40 km/h. We are visible. What can happen? Children run. They run in front of the cab. He doesn’t stop. The run next to the cab. for a while. He goes faster. They run after us. Sooner or later we will stop.
this is the point. This is the point to stop. But mainly this is the same of the starting point with Africans. you can wait. because sooner or later it will be your time. You can run. You must run. Because sooner or later they will stop. and that will not be an award. That is the moment to work. to take everything. carry it. walk 2 stairs. but finally get a change. some money. few. but some. Who is not running is taking nothing.
And then sometimes you just become a runner. And that’s the time while, being african, especially being from Ethiopia, you just win.