City Beat: Kenyans need to redefine “wasting time”

Is it that people here celebrate success more than other countries in eastern Africa? Last week, Rwandans or almost every homestead had a graduation party during the weekend. I was shocked to see a convoy of vehicles headed to one of the graduation parties I attended. Initially I thought it was a wedding, on a Sunday.
We all need to celebrate achievements.
We all need to celebrate achievements.

Is it that people here celebrate success more than other countries in eastern Africa? Last week, Rwandans or almost every homestead had a graduation party during the weekend. I was shocked to see a convoy of vehicles headed to one of the graduation parties I attended. Initially I thought it was a wedding, on a Sunday.

Pardon me, maybe it’s where I come from where apart from a pat on the back from family and friends nothing more is really expected. The best you can get in Kenya is a small party probably organised by friends. If you are lucky enough you might get a book to symbolise your achievement.

The village weddings in Kenya which never have more than two vehicles can never measure up to the graduation parties in either Rwanda or even Uganda. I found out that in Uganda they actually set up committees to organise or raise money for such a party. I tend to think that this money should instead be used for charity work or something like that. That’s just me though.

Kenyans should know that sometimes pretending to be busy and really lacking time to enjoy and celebrate one’s life’s achievements is actually unhealthy.

“Time is money…I don’t have time and money to waste on parties, I could use it to make a fortune. The only time I am not trying to make money, I am usually asleep,” Karanja said.

Karanja, a Kenyan businessman in Kigali, goes on to express his disappointment in the way Rwandans do their weddings. According to him, the weddings are done twice. There is the introduction ceremony which apparently the bride’s family takes care of entirely.

Then there is the church wedding. To him that’s a total waste of money. However, every time I pass the KBC (Kigali Business Centre) round-about every Saturday, the glamour and happy faces never give the impression of time wastage. This makes me want to re-define the term time wastage.

First, Kenyans should abandon any assumption that there is a “right time style” and a “wrong time style”. Theirs is, of course, the correct one. But astonishingly, others seem to feel the same way about theirs. So the best strategy is to capitalise on the conflicts by exploiting the diversity.

Truly accepting that others won’t change for you spares you the frustration of repetitive and fruitless efforts to control them. You can direct your efforts to more rewarding pursuits.

When people notice you are not trying to change them, they feel more relaxed and receptive. You in turn can find out more about what shapes their attitudes about time.

There are only 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year and you have to spend some of that time sleeping, eating, playing, relaxing and growing with yourself, your friends and your family.

Time is an entrepreneur’s most precious resource because it is the only one that is truly scarce. Be stingy with it. They say that time is money; the same people say that work with no play makes Jane a dull girl (Ok, maybe you are used to Jack).

Now I understand why my Kenyan brothers and sisters are always gloomy, they are actually said to be the most unfriendly in eastern Africa.

“There are advantages to sitting around and doing nothing,” says Tom Hodgkinson, editor of The Idler magazine, which has been promoting the cause of idleness since it first went to press in 1993.

According to him, all the great creative breakthroughs come when people are sitting around, or lying in bed in the morning half awake. Idleness is a wellspring of creativity, is enjoyable for its own sake and there are health benefits as well.

Talking of time, let’s take some time off to seriously reflect on all those that perished in the horrific 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, the survivors and rebuilding of Rwanda.

karuthum@gmail.com

 

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