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Jason's Jive August 2021 By Jason Inanga

Updated: Aug 31


Olwak Jenaro! Permit me to introduce this young author to you. We had a chance meeting in Dallas in early July 2021. His book, “Shufto” is the closest experience I have had with a person who fled the modern wars of Africa, migrated through different countries, and eventually settled in this great country and has been given a new lase of life. The book chronicles his experience, leaving Khartoum, Sudan for Egypt, at the tender age of 10 years old. He and his family relocated to the USA (Buffalo, New York) as refugees, and have been here for about twenty years. Book is available on Amazon, and he is on a variety of social media sites.

Proverbs! I did promise to share some of these sayings with you. Growing up in a cross-cultural home, I had to get used to my mother sometimes talking to me and throwing in proverbs. A lot of the time, we were left to figure out the interpretation, as part of our life lessons.

How many of these do you remember : “Two wrongs don't make a right." ... "The pen is mightier than the sword." ... "The squeaky wheel gets the grease." ... "No man is an island."

Let us go to the Caribbean… here are a few of their proverbs (and their meanings) :

“What sweet in goat mouth sour in he bam bam” (It may seem nice now, but you will pay the consequences later.) ; “All fish does bite, but shark does get di blame” (Those with a history of bad behaviour are usually the first ones accused.) ; “Goat doh make sheep” (Children behave like or have similar mannerisms to their parents.) ; “Alligator lay egg, but im know fowl.” (Things are not always what they seem); “Monkey know wha tree to climb” (Choose your battles carefully); “Old fire stick easy to ketch” (Old romantic relationships are easier to start than new ones);

Here are a few proverbs from Nigeria. They appear in pidgin English, a widely spoken form of English in Nigeria, due to the diversity of the languages spoken over there. Cow wey dey in a hurry to go America go return as corned beef ( Just be patient. Let the game come to you. Don’t rush!); If life dey show you pepper, use am make pepper soup ( Make something good out of a bad experience) ; No matter how hot your temper be ,e no fit cook beans. (Your temper won’t solve the problem)

While doing this column, I found a proverb I have never heard before – “nobody knows how the water enters a coconut”. I leave you to your interpretation of that one.

So dear reader, it will be nice if you can do some reading up on proverbs and you will be amazed at the volume of information out there.

Now I fully understand the trauma of the cicadas that you experienced in Maryland this year. July 4th weekend I was in Atlanta visiting some cousins and at a point we stood out in the driveway close to midnight, as I prepared for my 13-hour drive back to Dallas. They have a wooded driveway and while we were talking, I kept hearing a loud noise and eventually had to ask them what the noise was. Turned out it was cicadas. Now I can appreciate what you had to deal with, daily.

Love Thy Neighbor – in all things. I will end with this. While in Atlanta, in the development where my cousin lives, two neighbors show love in a different way. One neighbor apparently hosts parties every weekend, on his property. People can go there to have a good time. Problem is the loud music and the vulgar lyrics that blast through the silence of the night on Saturday into Sunday. So, to show neighborly love, the occupants of a house opposite the party house, retaliate in an eccentric way. They wait till they think the party neighbor is trying to get some rest, then start to repeatedly set off their car alarms, to get back at him. I found it hilarious. That’s The Jive !

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