My culture collection is like a pocket full of interesting stones I have picked up along the way going about my life in Bolivia. The stone I want to show you today is as a bedrock for the people of this country.
The daily siesta is ingrained in the existence of every Bolivian man, woman and child. If I say “normal office hours” to a person with a Western mindset immediately Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 song starts playing in their head. Here the office hours are: 9-12 and 2:30ish or 3 – 5. Do the math; that is roughly five hours a day making for a 25 hour a work week. There are some businesses that have longer hours, but they are the exception, not the rule. The middle of the day is called the siesta (translated: middle of the day rest time or nap). Most people use public transportation which naturally makes getting from here to there take longer than those that move about by taxi or in their own cars. So part of the siesta is dedicated to transportation. The rest of the time is for sitting down with family and close friends to eat the biggest meal of the day, usually three courses and a dessert.
Sunday afternoons carry a separate sacredness. Every commercial locale has shortened hours or doesn’t even open at all. There are hardly any cars on the roads after two. The people rest. It took us a solid year to become accustomed to this switch. Instead of thinking that I could get some quick errands done before the hustle and bustle of the week started I had to retrain my brain and tell myself that whatever it was could wait. It really revealed to me how consumer minded I was. Now that we are approaching the seven year mark I wouldn’t dream of doing anything outside the home on Sunday afternoons. When foreign visitors come they want to make the most of their every minute (and rightly so). When they ask us to do something Sunday afternoons it is the most exhausting day of the trip. I am thrilled spend time with them; it is just that I have gotten very used to unplugging on Sunday afternoons.
I was talking with a missionary friend here recently and she said, “Aren’t Sunday afternoon naps the best?” Yes, they are. Then today I read a blog by someone that has the mindset that Sunday afternoons are made for wandering. I like that idea. Yesterday as I was lounging on my bed I realized this forced rest that I have come to love has saturated me. It is a good thing.
What do your Sunday afternoons look like?