Rebuilding Foundations

An exploration of international development work in Africa

Working Hours

My two roommates work long hours.  Both are professionals (an engineer and a botanist) who typically put in ten hour days.  They drive away early in the morning and return home at dusk or after dark.

My job seems easy in comparison.  Even though everyone at the office is super busy, we come to work at 8:30am and leave at 4:30pm.  Sometimes people come in early, but they never leave late.

Except the Directors and Maintenance Managers.  It’s hard to tell when they start work and when they end because they have so many site visits and meetings.  I know, however, that sometimes my supervisor stays at the office pretty late.  During my first few days, before I felt comfortable enough to take the taxis on my own, my supervisor gave me rides home.  So for a while we were both at the office pretty late.

It took me some time to figure he stays late because he can – and that he can because he has a vehicle.

Besides the two directors and two Maintenance Managers, everyone else in the office is black.  None of them own cars and most live in neighbouring suburbs or townships.  They need to time to take public transport and walk home well before it gets dark.

Safety concerns affect everything in this country.


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