Tag Archive | African Proverbs

What My Mama Said To Me…14

Wisdom, Mother Knows Best, Proverbs, Mother and Child

Mama said to me, baby,
you know that life might choose
to hand you unwanted baggage;

but

you can choose to stand tall,
straighten your shoulders
and carry them with elegance.

©

Jacqueline

This piece is an excerpt from my work-in-progress.

You can read my book, Unbridled on Kindle Unlimited for free.

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Emulation – Writers Quote Challenge

Image result for images of nanny goat and kid

‘When the nanny goat eats grass, her kid watches her mouth.’ African Proverb

I heard this proverb over and over as a child that I have no atom of an idea how many times that could possibly be, but even as a child, I knew my parents meant that I should emulate them by watching what they did.invitation-shel-silverstein

In essence, it’s not just what they said that I should look at but at the examples that they set.

Of course, believe me when I say that I fell flat millions of times in emulating their examples, not due to any fault of theirs but due to stubborn individuality and sometimes outright foolishness.

It took Higher Grace not to have killed myself with my own foolishness despite all the words of correction and examples set by my parents.

The interesting thing is that now as an adult and parent, I catch myself sounding just like my own parents to my children, repeating the same words of wisdom that they drummed into my ears and hopefully portraying some sensible and responsible behaviour for my ‘kids’ to emulate.

Then again, kids will be kids after all. However, with sustained repetition and the right examples, the lessons planted will be retained and eventually mature with them as they grow and hopefully, their ears will turn out to be more than fancy bits of their body.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Written for the Writers’ Quote Weekly challenge prompt from Joan “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”
James Baldwin

Imagine The Barrenness…

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Imagine the World without trees.

A stark desert without the beauty of its greenery.

Hard to think of such barrenness;

For that means, there’ll be no life.

So, when you see a tree hugger,

don’t be in a haste to laugh.

In my place, when we say ‘may the forest be with you,’ it’s a prayer for your abundance of life, fertility and growth.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Trees, The Daily Post

The Resilience of The Broom – Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge.

Image result for images of Nigerian broomsticks

The strength of the broom lies not in the power of a single frond but in the resilience of its united fronds. African proverb

Like most families my growing up years consisted of squabbling with my siblings over things that I can’t even recall anymore, but the saying above is one of those proverbs that I’ll never forget because my parents used proverbs like that one to teach us life’s lessons.

‘Igwe bu ike! This is an Ibo word that means ‘there’s strength in numbers.’ My mother will tell us that while demonstrating with a broom.

She would give each of us a broomstick and instruct us to go ahead and break it. With barely much strength applied, the broomstick would snap. Then she would give us the entire broom to break and no matter how much you tried, that broom would never break. It might bend, but not break.

She used this example to emphasize to us that we had to stand together as one family because when we stand together as a unit that’s the only way we would withstand adversity and over the years of my life, we have individually and collectively gone through the storm as a family, but having each other to lean on has made passing through the eye of the storm easier.

Our unity didn’t mean that we lost our individuality, but there’s a code of oneness that understands and tolerates diversity.

This saying is not just for families, but to any group that man forms because we are social beings.

Unity brings strength
and creates harmony.

Unity promotes prosperity
and fosters love.

Unity covers the weakness of one
and infuses him with support.

When we are united
we can withstand.

When our unity is broken down
we will crumble.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Unity – #WQWWC


out-of-the-silent-breath 2

My recent thoughts…

Cybernetic blonde invited me for the quote challenge and my mind drifted to African proverbs.  Thank you, Brenda 🙂1465108007692[1]

From time immemorial, proverbs have been used by elders in my place to punctuate and convey important messages during a conversation.

When I was younger and my parents or grandparents spoke in proverbs, idioms, and all the wise words, I barely understood, but as I age, I find them worth ruminating over especially when I find myself in a quandary of thoughts.

“Even the best cooking pot will not produce food when no fire is lit underneath.”

“When building a house and the nail breaks, do you stop building or do you change the nail?”

“If you run after two Hares, you will catch neither.”

These three proverbs above reflect the thoughts that have been going through my mind of late. So let me briefly explain them.

The first is an advice to myself that even though I have all the storyline of my second book known to me until I sit down and flesh it out as I should, those ideas won’t miraculously turn into a book.

The second one has to do with some mind distractions that I’ve been having of late. So many loose ends of things to tie up and I’m using them as an excuse to digress from doing what needs to be done. It’s time to drop that tack and get serious.

Lastly, I remind myself to taper off unnecessary things and concentrate. Running after too many things at once will all make me harried and at the end of the day, nothing would have been achieved.

So, back to tapering off, tacking with the right nails and cooking up those stories.

Do you fancy a whirl at quotes? Indulge 🙂

Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha


Below is my first just published Poetry Book “Out of the silent breath” which is available on Amazon and Smashwords.

When you buy my book, you support me in an invaluable manner.

Out of the silent breath

 

Midnight Motivations and Musings # 50…

Plan

Tomorrow is really not guaranteed any of us and that which we can do today no matter how little it is, is better done and when the following day comes, we do a bit more.

Experience has personally taught me lessons on how we rob ourselves through over-planning, procrastination and assumptions.

The future belongs only to those who live fully in their moments and take charge of each day as it comes.

We all know that the building blocks of a huge monument start with laying its base foundational stones.

So when you don’t put today’s stones in place, how exactly do you  plan to get to the tip of that pinnacle?

Like my people would say back home ‘it’s the firewood that you gather during the dry season, that you will use during the rainy season.

When you take care of today’s plans, tomorrow’s plan will take care of itself.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

 

Your Harvest Comes In Heaps And Spades…

‘Icho ime ife, ime e ya ofuma.’

These wise words echoes in my ears as I write this post and it translates to mean ‘ anything worth doing, is what doing well.’

I remember growing up and having to go to our farm with my parents to till the ground for planting maize, cassava, potatoes, pumpkin and any other crop that was due to be planted. Back then we grew most of our food.

With my hoe, I would make what I considered a nice mound of red earth and when my dad comes round for inspection, he would call me by his pet name for me and in his gentle way, he would say: ‘you’ve done well, but it would be better if the mound was just a little higher’ and would complete his correction with that sentence up above.

This was repeatedly applied in so many ordinary things that we did, from our house chores of sweeping with the broom, washing plates, clothes, weeding the compound to our studies.

Thus it became embedded in my mind, that if you choose to do something, give it your best shot.

If you choose to love someone, love them without placing the conditions that they must fulfill to become worthy of your love.

If you are working for someone, do it wholeheartedly because some day, someone will probably turn around to work for you. As my people would say ‘when you respect the King, Kingship will also come to you.’

In everything that one does, they should do it to the best of their ability. Not for the sake of eye service, but for the sake of self-service.

Sow and Water and leave the bountiful harvest to providence. It always pays in heaps and spades.

Let me leave these three extra farming proverbs for you to mull over with your cup of coffee:

‘Good gardens are not made by sitting in the shade.’

‘As the farm grows, so does the farmer.’

‘If you tickle your earth hard enough, she will laugh for you with bountiful harvest.’

I would like to thank Maria Jansson for her generous invitation to participate in the quotes challenge and would like to extend the invitation to these lovely bloggers.

Melinda

Kay Morris

Sarah C

P.S. No hard rules to participate.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Lessons Learnt And Feedback To My Committee Of Friends…

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Honestly, I don’t know where to start from on this post, but I will take it from the middle and make it brief.

The outpouring of support that I received from my fellow bloggers over the weekend was what I would call Fantabulous’ a word coined from fantastic and fabulous.

The turnout was way beyond my expectations and the ripples of the party still bounces off my walls.

As blog parties go, this was totally off the hook to my surprise.

‘There is no greater honour than the giving of your time and you guy’s gave it full time.’ 

When the seed of the idea was planted in my heart and I sent out little feelers, I must confess that I had trepidation and indeed, I received a couple of hints that the timing I chose may not be right because it was a Valentine weekend, but a good number of voices that were keen to see how it would all turn out boosted me.

You know how the negative sometimes does it’s super-best to overshadow the positive, the feedback that didn’t quite support kept ringing in my head and reminding me that I am a small blogger, but the little voice of encouragement within me kept reminding me that Valentine was even the more reason to have a party ‘because it’s a love thing and love is everything.’

Love is not meant to be restricted nor kept covered only to be exposed in one day. It should be a lifestyle. So, I dug in my heels and got to work on the hurdle that I had set for myself.

I didn’t want to leave the taunting voice of regret to hound me with the fact that I failed to try.

I also try to practice what I preach ‘do it, even if you are afraid,’ so we did it, and boy, oh boy, was it a sweet interlude.

A blog party attended by over 105 awesome bloggers with over 1,060+ comment thread is one big party.

We had live music, good food, drinks, dessert, stories, poems, pillow fights and talks, slumber parties, dancing on tables, auctions, smooching in corners, our very own Cupid, super company and lots of blogs falling in love with each other. Now tell me that wasn’t sweet.

I made a good number of new friends, had a swell time and hope that everyone else did.

The last few words I would like to say, I will say them in a quote:

‘There is strength in unity and love.’ Unknown

‘Stand your ground, for today’s mighty Iroko tree was yesterday’s nut that held it’s ground.’ African proverb

‘When you have a dream, hold on to it, work it out and never let anyone talk you out of it.’ Jacqueline.

Thank you all for keeping me company, for supporting me and for being my friend in this place.

With all pleasure, I say, let’s do it again sometime soon.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

When You Want To Go Far…

The funny African proverb that says ‘when we all piss together it foams’ comes to my mind as I write this post.

Another one equally states that ‘when you want to go fast, you go alone, but if you want to go very far, you go with others.’

For the first time, I will be hosting a blog party (Valentine Shindig) and hopefully, from then I will continue hosting a monthly blog-hop meet ups to encourage newbies as well as the older ones to mingle and develop a cohesive community.

I sent out feelers to feel the pulse of my readers and not only has the response been awesome but the support as well and I cannot fail but to express my appreciation.

A good number of lovely bloggers have shown their support and encouragement to me by re-blogging and tweeting my invitation and posts in this regard and it totally fills me with a sense of gratitude and joy.

There is no way that I would be able to do it by myself or to cover as much ground if not for the generosity and support that I have received from a good number of you.

I am thankful and indeed grateful to have supportive friends in this community and as is said in my place ‘the fowl does not forget the person that allowed her to roost by her fireplace during the raining season. ‘During your rainy days, may you find a warm fireplace to roost.’

You can join Colline’s  or Maria Jansson gratitude challenge platforms.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Image: Quotesgram.com

Nope! You Can Never Go Wrong…

People watching is a social science hobby that I spend quite a bit of my time engaging in. Observing people in recent times, some of the little things I see shows that there some fine redeeming human values which seems to be at loss these days. I am quite sure a good number of you would have observed these things as well.1453956311834[1]

Two days ago, I watched an elderly lady who was counting her steps struggle with the few things that she had and a couple of the items fell from her hands.

She paused briefly, bending gingerly to try and gather them and from my observation, she probably has Arthritis.

My natural instinct was to run up and help her, unfortunately my distance was a little far off to offer immediate assistance.

Meanwhile, two young men, probably in their mid-to-late twenties stood two steps away from this lady, puffing away on their cigarettes and not one of them bothered to render a helping hand to a woman who looked old enough to be their mother.

For all you know, they were probably busy videoing her difficulty for their YouTube Channel, which seems to be the new thing these days.

People would rather spend time shooting a video of a dying man in an accident instead of figuring out how to help.

I honestly had to curb my desire to make my way over and give them a talk or two about chivalry, they might not take it well.

However, I gave them a thorough scolding in my head 😉 and reminded myself that I have to keep teaching my boys how to be gentlemen.

By extending a hand of fellowship or help no matter how little to those around us who need it, we can never go wrong. We are actually not just helping others, but staying in touch with our humanity.

These are some little nuggets of quotes that you might wish to spend a couple of seconds on.

‘Instruction in youth, is like engraving in stone.’ African Proverb

The old woman looks after the child to grow its teeth and the young one in turn looks after the old woman when she loses her teeth.’ African Proverb

‘We rise by lifting others.’ Robert Ingersoll

Several dear bloggers have invited me for quote challenges and each day, the invitation increases by a notch.

I don’t like to let these things trail for so long, but I also don’t like to just toss quotes out there with nothing to say about them.

I try to look at the things that I observe around me and let them serve as lessons or inspirations for my thoughts.

I would like to thank Sepultura and That Little Voice for their generous invitation extended to me, to participate in the quotes challenge and would like to invite the following bloggers below to take up the quote baton and run with it.

Bunkaryudo

Sheridan Johnson

GloverDeb

No pressures at all. Just go with it if you wish to.

The Little Rules are:

  1.     Post three consecutive days.
  2.     You can pick one or three quotes per day.
  3.     Challenge three different bloggers per day

My regards,

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha