After spending enough time in Kopyeia I have come to notice some interesting aspects about the mundane things in my life that are much different here. I am of course referring to the phenomenon of Ghana time and Ghana speed.
In the U.S. we are essentially obsessed with time and how to use it
effectively, as if it were some scarce resource. We build schedules
around a 24 hour system and we have phrases like “to be early is on time
and to be on time is to be late.” Ghana time doesn’t
work that way. For instance, we were told that a funeral will be
happening at 1 p.m. and that we cannot be late. We were told this at
1:18 p.m. If you are given a time here it is anywhere between the given
time and 1-2 hours later it seems. Ghana time is very
slack in comparison to the sometimes neurotic approach back home.
Ghana speed is the tempo at which things are done. For us, this is
mainly the speed of the music we are playing and dancing. What I have
noticed about this is that its nature is that of extremes. The music is
either done deathly slow or blazingly fast. There
does not seem to be any in between (of course like all things Ghanaian
there may be a degree of subtlety I am missing.)
Ultimately, Ghana time and speed have taught me to not be obsessed with
quantifiable time and that if you are going to play music – or do
anything for that matter – do it to the extreme and don’t hold back.Good advice, don't you think?