20 January, 2014


One of my masters students told me in class today that ‘time does not exist in Kenya.’ When he said it, the entire class laughed and shook their heads ‘Yes.’ Kenya has been teaching me about time, even though it does not exist. As a proud and successful finisher, someone who prides himself on ‘getting things done’, I witness stories all around me every day with no beginning, middle, or end in Kenya. Time does not exist.

Attending class is not a given. When my class with 71 students began last week, 10 students were in attendance. My heart was pounding.  By the end of class, 19 were in attendance. I was completely unsettled. Arriving to class with 5 minutes left until the end is not uncommon. I must re-define. I must be in ‘what is’, and not ‘what should be’. I cannot change a culture, but I can be in a culture.

Learning to let go of my pride of finishing while I am here will be my toughest challenge, but something I need. In Kenya I am disoriented and dependent. In Kenya, finishers don’t win. So why play that game, Richard? What are you missing?

Time to go get some lunch and take a walk.


This entry was published on January 20, 2014 at 10:35 am. It’s filed under Culture, People, Random Thoughts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.


  1. Yup, my years living in Tibet and India proved this to always be the case! It’s the reason, according to one Tibetan doctor, that he barely saw anxiety symptoms in any Tibetans. (He referred to anxiety as the “American disease.” He said to me, “Our view is – if you get something done today, great. If not, try again tomorrow.”

    • That is so beautiful Stephannie. It is very inspiring. Thank you for sharing. I will borrow that thought. It is so useful. Enjoy singing!

      • Stephannie on said:

        Thank you, I am enjoying it! So glad you’re writing this blog.

      • My 25 year old Williamsville East teaching self and your 16 year old student self would be surprised at the beautiful conversations we are sharing almost thirty years later. TIME. It’s beautiful. Thank you Stephannie.

  2. I never read blogs. I read this blog. I love your insight, Richard!

  3. This would be difficult. Thank goodness you are wise to take a step back and not try to change a culture.

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