You Say Hello…I Say Goodbye

Not just a catchy Beatles song, a critical observation of African humanity. I cannot tell you how many times at the petrol (gas) stations, the grocery stores, or the banks I have run into African humanity in its simplistic expression: “Hello, how are you?”

You cannot move on with your business until this is sorted. We must know how you are, and you must know that you have been seen. Transactions can wait, but your state of being must be attended to.

Africa is breaking me of a rushed way of being. I’m a highly task oriented, driven person who can at times rush past simplistic greetings. That is unacceptable here. Even though 99% of the time, everyone says they are fine and that is the extent of the conversation, you simply must acknowledge the being of the other. It’s this kind of hope and depth of life I think Africa gifts to the world.

Tonight, I experienced this phenom actually stop a transaction. We hosted our first braai tonight in Clydesdale. It was baie lekker (very nice). We invited the family staying on our property as well. The husband, Ambrose, was walking to the gate with me to greet other guests. As someone came through our gate, they asked Ambrose if he was well. He said, “no I’m not”.

WHAT? Wait dude, this is a formality. It’s a little higher than a rhetorical question. Just say you’re fine, and let’s move on with the braai! It stopped the flow into the yard and we discussed life issues. THIS is more important. THIS is why God made braai coals to take an hour before you can cook. Because THIS is our humanity and it is the very place God enters in and touches our very soul.

Hello. How are you this evening?

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