Friday, 14 October 2016

The Ultimate Guide to Ghana Man Time (GMT)


The importance of punctuality is a given in the UK… however we need to tell you about GMT, and no, not Greenwich Mean Time, I’m talking about Ghana Man Time. Ghanaians live by the quote ‘better late than never’. I learnt this on my very first day when I arrived to work at 7.59 punctual as ever and the in-country volunteers arriving at 11.59. I was shocked, how could someone arrive so late? Surely the in-country team leader would obviously be annoyed right? No, he was late too. It’s clearly a thing here and we are starting to get the hang of it.
Arriving to the office on time would be the ultimate goal, however, if you haven’t already guessed the outcome, I am always running slightly late and this is not due to choice. So here’s the excuse of why I am always late… (Apologies in advance, I don’t mean to single out the in country volunteers who take GMT very seriously!).
In the morning, an hour before I need to be at the office, my phone will ring and it will be an in country volunteer saying that they are ready to get a taxi. I quickly get my bucket, have my yams, greet the goats outside and I’m at the volunteers house within 10 minutes, because I foolishly thought we were in a rush! However, fast forward the time an hour later and I am outside their house, to find out they’re still in bed and I’m found passing time by greeting some new goats! 15 minutes later, and we have met the other volunteers and, I don’t want to tempt fate, but we are finally ready to leave. Although it’s too good to be true, we may be ready to leave but the taxi driver has yet to show an appearance, and I’m pretty sure he’s still eating his yams and filling his bucket. Yet again we arrive slightly late to the office, maybe tomorrow will be different, but then again you can never rely on punctuality as I'm sure GMT was created for Ghanaians.

Road to work in the morning - a man, a woman and a baby on board  the motorbike

Goat Greeting in Ghana

 ‘Alarm? What’s that?’

Tips for achieving GMT:

1.       Take Line Taxis – They don’t go in straight lines by the way, more like zig zags?

2.    Beware of motorbikes - They also go in zig zags

3.       Don’t use an alarm clock – The goats and chickens obviously know what time you need to be up

4.       Have bucket showers – Eat, Sleep, Bucket, Repeat

5.       If male, be sure to give a cheeky wink to the girls – 'A proposal a day doesn’t keep the men away'

6.       Pounding (The Fufu- a Ghanaian dish) – It really does take hours

7.       Be sure to walk slowly – Because if you’re not careful you’ll slip and mud will be your outfit for the day

8.       Cross carefully - Zebra crossings don’t exist, you just hear a horn and it’s time to run

So here you have it, you can have Ghana GMT even if you live by UK GMT because why rush when everyone else is late too…
Written by Farida Nurbhai and Vikki Stafford


  1. That was a very interesting and enlightening read. Made me smile. Sounds like Jack on a normal day. Jen

  2. We hope the "GMT" attitude would come to an end..... It's ridiculous!