Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Swahili Proverbs

We spent the past weekend in Nairobi, so I thought this moment opportune to share a choice excerpt from a note I recently received from a friend:

He writes:
"I thought it would be helpful to pass along some kiswahili proverbs you can use on a daily basis as you help make bananas more profitable. unfortunately i couldn't find the proverbial translation for "daylight come and me wanna go home"...

"Fimbo iliyo mkononi ndiyo iuwayo nyoka: Stick that is in the hand is the one that kills the snake" (who even knew you could kill a snake with a stick? that kicks ass)

"Simba mwendapole ndie mla nyama: A lion that walks quietly is the one that eats meat" (it's a real rainforest out there)

"Jembe lisilo na mpini halilimi: A spade without a handle does not plough" (i don't get it...must be an inside joke)

"Mchagua jembe si mkulima: He who differentiates between spades is not a farmer" (man, they're really into spades over there. you should probably make sure the banana growers are using more high-tech implements)

and my personal favorite,

"Mkono mmoja haupigi makofi: One hand (alone) cannot clap" (they totally stole that from the show "kung fu")

Thanks to the source, who shall remain anonymous, for providing such priceless nugs of wisdom and for making this entry virtually effortless. My own personal fave? "A man without a donkey is donkey"...if you ever go to Lamu, you will understand

1 comment:

Abby said...

These proverbs are genius- and it took surprisingly little effort to find their relevance in NY life! Especially the one about the donkey!

Keep posting!

Much love to you both,