I though I would try to explain the difference in Kiswahili time and our time.  First of all most people do not own a watch, their definition of time is that it is something we create at the moment.  They live very much in the “Now”  – something Eckardt Tolle’s book extols us to do. But, when we get to setting an appointment with someone we have run into problems and you will see why.

Take a pencil and draw a circle for a clock.  Dot in the middle for the hands.  Where we have 12 o’clock, draw a 6.  Where we have 1, draw a 7, for our 2, put 8, for our 3, use 9.  four o’clock for us is 10 o’clock for Tanzanians.  Five is 11, and our six is their 12.  7:00 is 1, 8 is 2, 9 is 3 , 10 is 4, 11 is their 5.

Got that?  1:00 in the morning is the first hour after sunrise (what everyone else calls 7:00 a.m.). 1 p.m. is the first hour after sunset – what we call 7:00 p.m.

Because Tanzania is near the equator, sunrises and sunsets are the same for every day of the year.

The first year we were here, we asked Musa to get us bus tickets to Arusha.  He came back and said he would pick us up at 12:30 in the morning.  Naturally, Tally and I thought that was not a good hour to be traveling on a bus, much less hanging around a bus station.  Later, someone explained that in Swahili time that meant 6:30 in the morning which made a lot more sense.  Now am late for a meeting at 5:00 swahili time!!!  Jessie

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