I am a person that likes to have organized plans and know what to expect in all situations. However, the sense of control I desire is nearly impossible to have while working in another country and culture. Dealing with setbacks such as professionals not showing up to meetings without explanation, supplies not being available, and a general lack of communication has easily become frustrating.
I never realized how accustomed I was to the strict timeliness and professional expectations of American culture. Time is not as stressed here in Ghana, which can be freeing, but the “go with the flow” mentality is both a blessing and a curse. The relaxed ideas about time are not as welcome in patient interactions, which is difficult when conducting a 30 minute survey. Patients are either hesitant to participate or complain throughout the process. This unfortunately puts pressure on me to work quickly, which is hindered because of the language barrier and therefore need to ask questions through a translator. I believe that overcoming the obstacle of a time restraint means that I must become fluid in my process of administering the survey. I understand that the patients are going out of their way to enroll in our study, and I do want to be respectful of their time. I am hoping that the patients will have patience with me and I’ll be able to quickly complete the survey without feeling stressed.