Thursday, February 12, 2015

5 American Habits I've Changed Since Working in Mozambique

I've been in my position as the Associate Director of the Mozambique Initiative for just over three years now, and I can't even begin to describe all of the ways that my experiences in Mozambique have changed my life. As I contemplate the new year ahead and attempt to incorporate the lessons I've learned during this time, here are 5 key habits that are significantly changing in my life since taking this job:
  1. Obsessing About Time: Am I going to be on time? How long will this last? When can I move on to the next thing? Is there time to do this if I do that first? Are we running over time? Being so time conscious is a luxury; it's a luxury to have reliable vehicles, and gas stations on every corner...not to mention watches. My desire to control time is fostered by these luxuries that allow it. And with all of these luxuries, I gradually started convincing myself that it was through my fingers that the sands of time fell. Not that we should be flippant about getting to work or school or important meetings, but how we orient ourselves around a clock is purely an expression of American excess and our desire for control. The sting comes when I realize the implications of this habit - that I move on to the next thing in my head and in my heart before even taking in where it is that I am standing, or who it is that I am standing with. Mentally, spiritually, emotionally, we are gone before we even arrive. What are the long term ramifications of this on our psyches? On our spiritual lives? Life is short. All we have is this moment. Mozambicans realize this in a  way that is humbling, sobering even. I'm reminded again and again to just. be. here. now. The next thing will inevitably come. No need to rush.