Joty Sohi (Nepal)

Prior to her fellowship, Joty earned a BA from the Rutgers University and an MA from City University London. Joty interned at the British Red Cross where she educated London’s youth on International Humanitarian issues. Joty has also worked at local and State level organizations developing and executing programs for individuals with special needs. After the fellowship, she wrote: "It has opened my eyes to what it's like to work abroad for a smaller Non-profit. The best experience for me was to see through an actual project and get it done." Contact: jsohi@advocacynet.org



“Nepali Time”

03 Jul

I had heard it mentioned a few times before my trip, to be prepared to conduct business on “Nepali Time”. Apparently in Nepal there is this generalization that when a meeting time is scheduled, assume that the meeting will be delayed roughly 30 minutes to an hour. I was curious to see how much validity there was to this stereotype that the Nepalese were habitually tardy. Having only 10 weeks in Nepal for my peace fellowship and being a pretty punctual person myself I was hoping that there wasn’t much truth behind this.

Upon my arrival in Katmandu I was almost pleased to see the hustle and bustle of traffic. It seemed as though everyone was in a rush to get somewhere, perhaps the concept of “Nepali time” no longer accurately reflected the reality. It only took me a few days to realize how mistaken I was. Yes it was true Nepali people, when it comes to traffic, are always in a rush…to get nowhere. Its almost as though it’s a game, everyone wants to be the first one to reach the traffic light/ intersection/ roundabout. And it has nothing to do with them being in a hurry. Not at all, it has everything to do with them wanting to be the first in line. As soon as they are done overtaking you in an overly competitive manner, they will slow down practically to snail speed and bask in their triumph. 

When it came to everything else, it was as though there is no real value to time. The western ideology “time is money” is not something that translated very well into Nepalese culture; time just is not considered a valuable commodity. Here one does things at ones own leisure. Probably one of the toughest things I have dealt with since arriving. Is adjusting my time to Nepali time, because of this meeting every deadline seemed like a monumental task 

I am slowly realizing though that following the ticking clock is just my way of doing things not necessarily the right approach or the only approach. Just yesterday we were on our way to a meeting scheduled for 1 o’clock. Already running about 30 minutes late. We had to pick up a community member also attending the meeting. At the pick up point we noticed a monkey lying besides the school building. The distress and confusion was unmistakably visible in eyes.  When inquiring about its state of health, it turns out the monkey had been an honorary student for the past few years, and in the last two days his health had slowly been deteriorating. They had attempted to call Nepal’s Animal Control, but had not received a reply. At this point I had already prepared myself to jump back into the car and make our way to the already delayed meeting. What else could we do for that poor monkey? We had a meeting to attend. To my surprise, no one else followed my lead. It started with a group of two men huddled exchanging information, looking at their list of contacts, seeing whom they could call. The group slowly grew to about six members all putting in there two cents. After throwing around multiple scenarios, calling a handful of numbers, an hour and a half later someone was finally reached that could assist in the matter of the monkey. 

Knowing that the Nepali people just march to a different rhythm/beat of time, I now admire them for it. There is this very flexible notion of what “time” is. Time is used as a gentle guide, not a scrupulous master. Managing opportunities perhaps is more important then being someplace on the dot.

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I had heard it mentioned a few times before my trip, to be prepared to conduct business on \u201cNepali Time\u201d. Apparently in Nepal there is this generalization that when a meeting time is scheduled, assume that the meeting will be delayed roughly 30 minutes to an hour. I was curious to see how much validity there was to this stereotype that the Nepalese were habitually tardy. Having only 10 weeks in Nepal for my peace fellowship and being a pretty punctual person myself I was hoping that there wasn\u2019t much truth behind this.<\/span><\/p>\n”,”class”:””},{“id”:”3″,”block”:”rte”,”content”:”

Upon my arrival in Katmandu I was almost pleased to see the hustle and bustle of traffic. It seemed as though everyone was in a rush to get somewhere, perhaps the concept of \u201cNepali time\u201d no longer accurately reflected the reality. It only took me a few days to realize how mistaken I was. Yes it was true Nepali people, when it comes to traffic, are always in a rush\u2026to get nowhere. Its almost as though it\u2019s a game, everyone wants to be the first one to reach the traffic light\/ intersection\/ roundabout. And it has nothing to do with them being in a hurry. Not at all, it has everything to do with them wanting to be the first in line. As soon as they are done overtaking you in an overly competitive manner, they will slow down practically to snail speed and bask in their triumph. <\/span><\/p>\n”,”class”:””},{“id”:”4″,”block”:”rte”,”content”:”

When it came to everything else, it was as though there is no real value to time. The western ideology \u201ctime is money\u201d is not something that translated very well into Nepalese culture; time just is not considered a valuable commodity. Here one does things at ones own leisure. Probably one of the toughest things I have dealt with since arriving. Is adjusting my time to Nepali time, because of this meeting every deadline seemed like a monumental task <\/span><\/p>\n”,”class”:””},{“id”:”5″,”block”:”rte”,”content”:”

I am slowly realizing though that following the ticking clock is just my way of doing things not necessarily the right approach or the only approach. Just yesterday we were on our way to a meeting scheduled for 1 o\u2019clock. Already running about 30 minutes late. We had to pick up a community member also attending the meeting. At the pick up point we noticed a monkey lying besides the school building. The distress and confusion was unmistakably visible in eyes.  When inquiring about its state of health, it turns out the monkey had been an honorary student for the past few years, and in the last two days his health had slowly been deteriorating. They had attempted to call Nepal\u2019s Animal Control, but had not received a reply. At this point I had already prepared myself to jump back into the car and make our way to the already delayed meeting. What else could we do for that poor monkey? We had a meeting to attend. To my surprise, no one else followed my lead. It started with a group of two men huddled exchanging information, looking at their list of contacts, seeing whom they could call. The group slowly grew to about six members all putting in there two cents. After throwing around multiple scenarios, calling a handful of numbers, an hour and a half later someone was finally reached that could assist in the matter of the monkey. <\/span><\/p>\n”,”class”:””},{“id”:”6″,”block”:”rte”,”content”:”

Knowing that the Nepali people just march to a different rhythm\/beat of time, I now admire them for it. There is this very flexible notion of what \u201ctime\u201d is. Time is used as a gentle guide, not a scrupulous master. Managing opportunities perhaps is more important then being someplace on the dot.<\/span><\/p>\n”,”class”:””}]}[/content-builder]

Posted By Joty Sohi (Nepal)

Posted Jul 3rd, 2015

3 Comments

  • Josh

    July 4, 2015

     

    It was a monkey after all, so I can’t blame them for wanting to skip or delay a meeting in favor of rescuing that little guy! I’ve grown quite fond of monkeys since last week. Hope you can share some pictures of him after he recovers!

  • I absolutely love this! I’m so jealous of you guys that all get monkeys. There are mostly just stray cats and dogs here (not that I’m complaining.) It’s so encouraging to hear how much they value life and what a great story you get to tell!

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