African Proverbs

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African Proverbs

“A bird in the hand was worth two in the bush, he told her, to which she retorted that a proverb was the last refuge of the mentally destitute.” W. Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil

Proverbs are an integral part of African culture. Passed on from generation to generation for centuries, they are still in wide use today. Proverbs are used to illustrate ideas, reinforce arguments and deliver messages of inspiration, consolation, celebration and advice. Here are some of my favorite African proverbs. There are many.

No matter how hot your anger is, it cannot cook yams.
.
The rain does not fall on one roof.

If you want to walk fast walk alone, if you want to walk far walk together.

The best way to eat an elephant in your path, is to cut him up into little pieces.

The death of an elderly man is like a burning library.

Not everyone who chases the zebra caught it but he who caught it, chased it.

Never marry a woman who has bigger feet than you.

Ears that do not listen to advice, accompany the head when it is chopped off.

If you carry the egg basket, do not dance.

Only a fool tests the river with both feet.

Teeth do not see poverty. (smile)

Rain beats the leopard’s skin but does not wash out the spots.

Don’t set sail using someone else’s star.

The child of a rat is a rat.

There are no shortcuts to the top of the palm tree.

You must attend to your business with the vendor in the market, and not to the noise of the market.

A bridge is repaired only when someone falls into the water.

He that beats the drum for the mad man to dance is no better than the mad man himself.

Wherever a man goes to dwell, his character goes with him.

Stay safe,

JAZ

Traveler’s Block

Traveler’s Block

“Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all”
Charles Bukowski

Today I have nothing.

I have written about packing and not packing, carry on luggage, check in luggage, travel clothes, travel companions,  souvenirs, my bracelet collection, my Starbucks collection, my good luck charms, LA – where I live, Manhattan and Brooklyn where I am from, places I love, places I hate, my mother, my dog, people who have died, animals that have been killed, airports, airplanes, stewardesses, airport security, things I’ve learned from traveling and not traveling, hotel rooms and things Ive left behind in them, travel addiction, people who think they are black, superstitions, proverbs and quotes from around the world, movies, books, children’s books and songs that have inspired me to travel, food, restaurants, turkey burgers, acting like a tourist, not acting like a tourist, tourist traps, tourist attractions, holidays, traveling alone,eating alone, random photos, being a godmother, travel etiquette, third world countries, countries that have changed names, countries not to travel to, misspelled countries, auto-correct, photography, art, urban art, music, world affairs terrorists and should you blame your parents if you are one,  philosophy, spirituality, religion, prejudice, meditation, things to say and not say to a world traveler, places I haven’t been to, bucket lists, top ten everything, travel problems, imaginary places, movie locations, trip planning, weddings, World Cup, Olympics, first world problems, blogging, Nellie Bly, touching strangers, things i like, things I dislike, the 100th monkey, coffee, sunrises, how to avoid the paparazzi, travel tv shows and people in the world.

I don’t know why they call it writer’s block. I have idea block. I could start reblogging pieces, post other writers, post more instagram photos, read more books and think about writing. I could hope that this is only a temporary setback, go out and do something and then write about it – like move to Spain, go to a wedding in Africa or perhaps the new Broad Museum in LA.

Fly safe,
JAZ

“Not My Circus. Not My Monkeys.” And Other Proverbs From Around The World

“Not My Circus. Not My Monkeys.” And Other Proverbs From Around The World

“A bird in the hand was worth two in the bush, he told her, to which she retorted that a proverb was the last refuge of the mentally destitute.” W. Somerset Maugham

Proverbs are short statements of wisdom or advice that are transmitted from generation to generation. Miguel de Cervantes would call it “a short sentence based on long experience”. I just learned that the study of proverbs is called paremiology. They make up words for anything. It is interesting how easily we relate to them no matter what country they are from. Here are some of my favorites.

Give even an onion graciously. Afghan

The one who asks
 questions doesn’t lose his way.
 African

Don’t put gold buttons on a torn coat. Albanian

The good-looking boy may be just good in the face. American Apache

The fruit of silence is tranquility. Arabian

When elephants fight, ants get killed. Cambodian

Do not remove a fly from your friend’s forehead with a hatchet. Chinese

Don’t teach your mother how to make children. Colombian

You do not  teach the paths of the forest to an old gorilla. Congolese

Listen to what they say of others and you will know what they say of you. Cuban

One sprinkles the most sugar where the tart is burnt. Dutch

Use soft words and hard arguments, English 

The best brewer sometimes makes bad beer. German

The liar and the thief rejoice in their first year only.  Greek

A leaky house can fool the sun, but it can’t fool the rain. Haitian

There are hundreds of paths up the mountain, all leading to the same place, so it doesn’t matter which path you take. The only person wasting time is the one who runs around the mountain, telling everyone that his or her path is wrong.” Indian Hindu 

Mothers hold their children’s hands for just a little while… 
And their hearts forever. Irish

Since the house is on fire, let us warm ourselves. Italian 

The reverse side also has a reverse side. Japanese

I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders. Jewish 

If you kick a stone in anger, you will hurt your own foot. Korean

To bend a bamboo, start when it is a shoot. Malaysian 

He who thinks he is leading and has no one following him, is only taking a walk. Malawian

it is not enough to know how to ride, you must also know how to fall. Mexican

Instruction in youth is like engraving in stone. Moroccan

Never marry a woman who has bigger feet than you. Mozambique

Not my circus. Not my monkeys. Polish 

He need not search his pockets for words. Russian

You can out distance that which is running after you but not what is running inside you.   Rwandan 

A greedy father has thieves for children. Serbian

Never trust your friend with a secret unless he is mute or a dog. Sicilian 

More grows in the garden than the gardener has sown. Spanish

Those who wish to sing, always find a song. Swedish 

The highest art is the art of living an ordinary life in an extraordinary manner. Tibetan

Kind words take the snake out of his hole. Turkish

Heaven creates the elephant, heaven will make grass.  Viet Nam

Who throws a stone in the market will hit a relative. Yoruban 

Any more?

Fly safe,

JAZ