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Adjusting to the Dutch way of life

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The past seven days in Hilversum, Holland have been enjoyable but also full of complications. Imagine staying with 25 people from 17 different countries – you all speak English but have ‘accents’ so there’s often a communication breakdown.

We are here for six weeks studying “Internet for Journalists” at the Radio Netherlands Training Centre (RNTC).

What has been the major talk amongst participants during our first week has been the number of access cards that have been given to us. We each have a bus card, hotel card, meal card, RNTC door access card, computer access card and phone cards to call kumusha (home). These cards have to be on you all the time if you want life to move smoothly for yourself.

Day by day we have had to adjust to the ‘Dutch way of life’ and this includes making sure that you are in time for meetings. If you have a 9am meeting and you arrive at 9.05am you are regarded as late. It is very different from the way we do business in Harare where some meetings start 30 minutes late and it is considered normal.

Going to bed before it gets dark has been a challenge, darkness falls around 10pm. It just looks strange closing the curtains and jumping into bed around 8.30pm when light is still there.

However, what puts a smile on my face is knowing that there are no water and power cuts like back home. You can take a bath anytime without having to imagine what you will do if water goes and you have soap in your eyes. It is also pleasing to note that you can wake up and do your ironing in the morning without worrying that ZESA is forwarding your kilo watts to our ‘new’ farmers that have been farming for the last five years.

This weekend a friend will be taking me to meet a homeboy staying in Holland. I wonder how many Zimbabweans are in Holland but I hope there is a sizable number that can cook sadza with meat and vegetables.

One comment to “Adjusting to the Dutch way of life”

  1. Comment by Pamwechete:

    Good on you to experience the european way of life.

    the timing standards here are very very different compared to africa.

    the other thing is when you say you will do something by a certain time, you have to make sure that you do it by that time otherwise you have to update whoever that there will be delays, or you will face the music.

    How have you found the transport system, compared to back home. No combi or mchovha, eh! and certainly minimal dumbu nemusana.

    I hope you manage to have the sadza nemavegie zvaurikutsvaga. :-)