My Life Lesson Learnt in Dar Es Salaam

While I was working on a yacht in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, I met a wonderful South African woman sailor, Meme Grant, who one day said she would take me across the bay to the local shopping market. She came to pick me up in a little rubber dinghy, greeted me and told me to “jump in.” As the level of the deck of the yacht was a lot higher than the rubber dinghy in the water, I was horrified! However, I didn’t want to appear stupid and incompetent, so I took a deep breath and jumped. Of course, I nearly capsized the both of us! Meme was furious and shouted at me: “Don’t you know that you never jump into a dinghy?”  I explained that I had never been in a dinghy before, so I had no idea. Meme, being the great teacher that she is, immediately calmed down and gave me my first lesson in dinghy skills. I learnt that when Meme said "jump in" she meant, “very carefully get into the dinghy so as not to capsize us”. I heard: “don’t waste time mucking about - literally jump.”

Don’t always assume another person will understand what you are talking about. Be clear and communicate the message you intend to communicate.