Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Time Zoning

I gave back a phone that we borrowed from Getu, one of our hosts here in Addis Ababa, and told him, "I think the time is wrong."

He said, "No, it's Ethiopian."

The clock said 3:50 pm.  My watch said 9:50 pm.  I knew that Ethiopia was in a different time zone from Egypt, but only one hour.

"What do you mean Ethiopian time?" I said.

"Yeah we have a different clock." He explained. 

"How is that useful?" Josh asked.

Getu sat up.  "OK tell me.  If God made a day with two parts, one nighttime and one daytime, why should we cut it in half?  The day should start at one."

"I don't get it."

"No, the thing is, you have the day starting at six.  Why six?  You see?"

"Oh!" I said.  "You start the clock at sunrise?"

"Yes of course."

So that is how we found out that there was no need to adjust the clock on Getu's phone.  To some Ethiopians, sunset and sunrise are the 12 o'clocks, so our nine pm was indeed 3 pm to him.  Also, by the Ethiopian calendar, it is the year 2007.

We were already losing track of days on this trip, but now the time is becoming arbitrary as well.  What next?!

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