A few more proverbs I have overheard.


One day the donkey and the mule were hanging out together, and the donkey had an idea:

“Hey,” the donkey said to the mule, “lets pretend to be sick today so we don’t have to go to work.”

“I can’t do that,” said the mule. “I don’t want to sit around all day.”

“Well I am going to try it,” said the donkey. “Tell the patron [boss] that I am sick.”

So the donkey stayed at home that day, and the mule went to work. When he came home in the evening, the donkey asked the mule, “So did the patron say anything about me today?”

“No, nothing special,” said the Mule.

The next day the donkey pretended to be sick again, and again the mule went to work. When he came home the donkey asked, “Did the patron say anything about me today?”

“No,” said the mule. “Nothing special.”

The third day, the donkey stayed home again, pretending to be sick (repetition is what makes African proverbs awesome), and again the mule went to work. When he came home, the donkey said, “Did the patron say anything about me today?”

“No,” said the mule, “nothing special.”

“That’s not possible!” said the donkey. “I haven’t gone to work for three days!”

“Well,” said the mule, “he did have a long talk with the village butcher on the way home today.”

The takeaway: donkeys are lazy and mules like to work.

This proverb does not work as well in Niger because they do not eat donkeys here. It was told by someone from Burkina Faso, where apparently, they do enjoy an occasional donkey-steak.


“You can live in a garage for ten years, but you will not become a car.”

The takeaway: I think this one speaks for itself.


This one is in French, and I like it because it rhymes:

Avant de dépenser, penser (translation – “Before spending, think.”)

The takeaway: Don’t buy the first pot you see, even though it is shiny. Go deeper into the market, they are cheaper there.


This is a Hausa proverb that I actually learned in Hausa:

Sanu sanu ba ta hanna zoua (translation – “Going slowly will not keep you from getting there.”)

The takeaway: Slow down, take it easy, chill out. You will get there eventually. This is very good advice for living in Niger, as it applies to everything from driving to getting your driver’s license. It also, of course, applies to learning Hausa.

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2 Responses to Wisdom

  1. Tamira says:

    “Speak slowly, speak lowly and don’t say much”quote from John Wayne

    Grandpa Bob

  2. You’re going to be great at Wise and Otherwise when you get back…

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