I couldn´t wait to share with you this. Many are the times I am told…… “Patience is a virtue you do not have..”. Sentiments that leave me wonder why was I named Patience in the first place. Norway has taught me patience a lot more and now I proudly tell people my name is “Patience” which means “tålmodighet” in Norsk,(Norwegian language).
When I think about Norway, one thing that comes into my mind is organisation at it´s best. If you are reading this as a Kenyan, you are better placed to understand my predicament. I will brake down Norway into very simple concepts that maybe when we put them into application in our daily lives and in Kenya or even Africa at large, then the world will be a better place for all of us.
African time, does that ring a bell? The first unwriten rule in Norway is to always keep time. A Norwegian minute is very expensive, therefore respect it at all times. When going for an appointment, meeting or even a date, always keep time. It´s said if you do not know the value of a minute..ask someone who has missed his flight. For Norwegians, ask someone who has missed his bus. The bus is never late, it´s you who is late….I love this! There are no matatu´s remember…So the bus leaves empty as long as it´s scheduled to leave at that time. This has been hard for me, at least with the notion of African time in mind. I am always running to the bus stop all the time I need to catch a bus.
This is even interesting…should the bus delay to be at a given picking point, one has a right to call the bus company which inturn fines the driver. There are no conductors, payment is done electronically at the drivers seat. Passengers buy bus cards from the bus station, which are available in different dominations, either for 10 days, monthy or even according to the number of trips to be made withing a given period of time. When need be, you can pay cash as you enter the bus, however this is so expensive, just to encourage everyone to buy an electronic bus card. I don´t need to over emphasize this, but this country knows best that a minute lost is never recovered. So if you have an appointment with a Norwegian, they will always be there at least 5 minutes before the said time. There are no traffick jams, so no excuses like the main one used in Nairobi……………………..”you know the jam on Mombasa road”. These excuses are unheard of. Should you be late, always call or even send a text an hour before.
I am yet to see a traffick policeman in Kristiansand. I am always on the look out to see one, and am sure will be happy to even find out what they will be doing by the roadside. Road accidents rarely happen here, the drivers willingly follow all the traffick rules and remember almost every family has a car, one or two. A car is not a luxury but a necessity for them. You do not drink and drive, it´s always advised to get a driver or else leave your car if you intend to drink or even get a taxi home.
All the time I need to cross the road I remind myself that I need to practice patience, patience, patience. You never cross the road until you hear the “now you can cross signal« tik tik tik” and see the green pedestrian sign on the traffick lights! What I like most is the fact that these simple rules are adhered to by everyone, there is absolutely no policeman on the road. There´s a hefty fine with violation of any traffick rules for both the pedestrian and the drivers. I love the zebra crossing, I take all my time and enjoy the cars waiting for me to cat walk! Here the pedestrian has the first say…..you know I want to cross the road now!
So much for my part one, am trying hard to cope and I am enjoying the organisation. In my next series, I will explain why gabbage collection has been such a task for me. At some point I said I couldn´t stand this…..why do I need three dustbins in the house?
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