This year I will be writing about some of the facets of everyday life as an American living in Africa. While my American friends tend to think of me as being “African” due to being born and raised in East Africa, my African friends see me as being “American” due to the influence of America since my university days. So bear with me the next few months as I take you on a journey.
Today life returned to normal as much as it can in Africa. You see, in Zimbabwe and other southern African countries, life dramatically changes during the holiday season. From the middle of December to the middle of January, all industry ceases manufacturing. To add to that, once Christmas is over, all stores except for grocery stores close for at least two weeks. This means you cannot purchase items like paint, hardware, fabric or anything else for home or office. Why? Because everyone goes on holiday!
And woe to the person who has a medical emergency…because all the doctors are also on their month long vacation. A friend of mine in South Africa was critically ill over Christmas and needed emergency surgery, but there was only one surgeon for the entire capital city of Pretoria available to do her surgery.
For those living here, this holiday season is wonderful as everyone can plan their vacations away without having to worry about seniority or first-come-first-served basis. Christmas, known as festive season here, means extended time with family. To an American, though, this appears to be crazy. Think of all the money that is lost during this time? Once the industrial sector opens up, it takes another two weeks before the factories are up to speed and orders are being filled and shipped.
There are times I think the African way is better until I need something minor like a light bulb and have to wait for the stores to reopen. Today the stores reopened, schools began their new school year (yes, it begins in January here not August like the USA), and the industry is coming alive again…just in time to restock my pantry!
CATEGORIES: News, Rhonda