Tuesday, 18 January 2011
A Foot Has No Nose
Now I have had a call from him. His wife has left him and he has had a leg amputated. He wants me to go and see him. I have thought and thought and am in the horns of a dilemma. I am sure that if I go and see him the knock on will be to make my already ill friend even more stressed and that in turn may exacerbate his illness.
This reminded me of the old African wisdom story, and I spent a lot of time yesterday going over and over the story seeking a way out of my dilemma. Let me share It with you, in the hope that you find it as interesting as I do. You may even find it a story to hold onto as helpful.
The story tells of an occasion where a mother sent her son to the main road, about twenty yards away from the homestead, to invite a passing group of seasonal work-seekers home for a meal. She instructed him to take a container along and collect dry cow dung for making a fire. He was then to prepare the meal for the group of work-seekers.
The thought of making an open fire outside at midday, cooking in a large three-legged pot in that intense heat, was sufficient to upset even an angel. The son did not manage to conceal his feelings from his mother and, after serving the group, she called him to the veranda where she usually sat sewing and knitting.
Looking straight into the eyes of her son she said "Tsholofelo, why did you sulk when I requested you to prepare a meal for those poor destitute people?"
Despite his attempt to deny her allegation, and using the heat of the fire and the sun as an excuse for his alleged behaviour,his mother, gave him a firm look, and said ""Lonao ga lo na nko" - "A foot has no nose". It means: you cannot detect what trouble may lie ahead of you.
Had he denied this group of people a meal, it may have happened that, in his future travels , he may have found himself at the mercy of those very individuals. As if that was not enough to shame him, his mother continued: "Motho ke motho ka motho yo mongwe". The literal meaning: "A person is a person because of another person".
We are all what we are and whom we are because of how we treat other people.
This blog is linked to my other. The Conspiritors (11)