Friday, April 29, 2011

A Meeting in Kenya

"It's a cultural difference: event-based society v. time-based society." -R. Doss

On Tuesday, April 26, I discovered this disparity.

The view from the percussion section
8:30 a.m. Dozens of Maxwell musicians are loading the bus for a short ride up the hill to the new library at the Adventist University of Africa. It's a grand day; the library  grand opening celebration is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.! The Maxwell music department has prepared multiple choral and band pieces for the event, and students (and faculty) are a bit nervous at the thought of performing in front of 1,000+ people, including Adventist leaders from around the globe. Featured speaker: Elder Ted C. Wilson, President of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

Nervous musicians take their places on plastic lawn chairs beneath the blue- and gold-swagged, open-air tent, organizing their pieces and tuning their instruments. A hush falls over the crowd as a man approaches the glass podium etched with the Adventist logo.
"The presidential party has been delayed, but we expect them within a half-hour."

We smile at each other; it is Kenya, after all. Who really thought we'd begin at 9? Time to break out the books that the music teacher wisely encouraged us to bring.

9:30. Another announcement. "The president is on his way, and when he arrives, he'll go there to sign a guest book and go there for a tour of the campus, then move on to inspecting the honor guard, then into the library for a tour. THEN we'll begin. But we can begin with some musical numbers! I'll have an opening prayer; this is not the opening prayer, but a prayer just to open the program." (???)

Introductions, introductions,
 & more introductions

10:00. "The President is now signing the guest book. Next, he will tour the campus, then inspect the honor guard. He will then tour the library."

10:15. "The president is inspecting the honor guard. Let us sing a hymn together!"

10:45. We've heard and performed multiple special numbers from a half-dozen special groups. "The president is on his way now..." Yah, sure.

11:00. Opening prayer!

11:15. Introduction of those present.

11:25. Introductions continue.

11:30. Introductions seem to be winding down. But then... not really.

11:35. "I don't have time now to introduce our featured guest, the president of the General Conference, Elder Dr. Mr. President Pastor Ted Wilson, current president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, but he - Dr. Elder Wilson - will be introduced at a later time."
Too bad you didn't have time.

12:00. Recognition of those present.

12:30. History of the project, with recognition of those present.

1:00. Formal introduction of Elder Ted Wilson.

Elder Mr. President Sir Ted C. Wilson
1:20. A heat-flushed Elder Wilson finally makes his way to the glass pulpit. The man holding the umbrella to shield him from the sun is the second replacement due to arm weariness.

1:50. Closing prayer.

1:58. Closing prayer for the closing prayer.

2:00. Lunch!! Hallelujah, amen.

A meeting in Kenya...
I survived.
That's all I'll say about it.


kessia reyne said...

Hahaha. I laugh. With sympathy, but I laugh ;0

Chloe Lewis said...

LOL Bless...

Hannah said...

I'm wondering if getting back to our time-based society is going to feel refreshing or stressful. Perhaps a blend.