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Site Last Update: 24 Feb, 2020

September, 2017 It is wise to keep checking. Haya (Tanzania) Proverb

Aheleka atashulize bamwetera okubaga.  (Haya)
Ukiwekesha kitu bila kufatilia utashutukia kimeharibika. (Swahili)
C'est très judicieux de continuer à controller. (French)
It is wise to keep checking. (English)

Haya (Tanzania) Proverb

Background, Explanation and Everyday Use

Once upon a time in Tanzania there was a farmer who gave his best cow to a friend who lived in a good grazing area. He expected to get good cows from his best cow after a long stay in that area, that is, he hoped to collect many cows in return. For a long time his wife was keeping reminding him to go visit your friend and know what is going on with his cow. He always answered his wife, "I know very well my friend; everything is OK." Months passed, years passed. He said, “Yes, I shall now build a new cowshed. I am sure my best cow has good number of cows now.

He sent his servant to tell his friend that at a certain time he might go to bring home his cows. The man getting the news hid the real best cow and prepared an old cow and one calf. When the farmer arrived with his two sons and his four servants, he was shown the one cow that was left. The farmer burst into tears; he could not say a word. He didn't take the old cow that he was shown. They all returned home empty handed and confused.

Arriving at home, all the villagers, and especially his wife, told him, Aheleka atashulize bamwetera okubaga (It is wise to keep checking). One who never checks what he/she has (kuwekesha) will find his/her possessions rotten. It is wise to keep checking. As the family sat together, they understood the meaning of this Haya proverb. The farmer was sorry to lose his best cow and the cows he expected after all those years. He did not listen to his wife who told him to go and check with friend about the best cow.


Bible Parallels

The parable of the good seed and weed in the Matthew 13:24-26 is remarkable because it touches our life situation at all age levels. We cultivate and plant, but the more so is the care given to the plants. The farmer sowed the good seed in the field. When the plants grew and the ears of the corn began to form, then the weeds showed up. The farmer’s servants came and said, “it good seed you sowed in your field; where did the weeds come from? It was some enemy who did this. Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds?” No, because as you gather the weeds you might pull up some of the wheat along with them. He will tell the harvest workers to pull up weeds first, burn them and then to gather in the wheat and put it in his burn.
The checking of the wheat. When the plants grew, then the weeds showed up. The man’s servants saw this. They reported it to their master. And the master knew that what was going on they all found solutions (vikwazo).

This good example of the participation and leadership. This can be good example in our SCCs sharing, and help us to evaluate our SCCs. Jesus explained the parable. Like the Haya proverb that we are sharing, we are called to be aware of what we plan we have to do follow up and close evaluation of our pastoral plans. We are all workers into the Lord’s field -- the church, the church from the grassroots. We have to know what is going on within our church (the "SCCs").

Matthew 24: 38-39 is another example of not being alert. In the days before the flood people ate and drank, men and women married, up to very day. Noah went into the boat; yet they did not realize what was happening until the flood come and swept them all way. It is wise to keep checking.

“The Parable of the Ten Young Women” in the Matthew 25: 3,5,8-10: The foolish women took their lamps but did not take any extra oil with them. The bridegroom was late in coming. Then the foolish ones asked some oil; the wise ones answered, there is not enough for you and us. Some of the foolish ones went off to buy and while they were gone the bridegroom arrived and the door was closed. The foolish women missed the wedding. They did not prepare themselves. This happens in our everyday life as some of the SCCs are not well coordinated. Let us be organized. Let us live according to the Word of God so the Bible is the center of our life.


Contemporary Use and Religious Application

Every good organization must have a good system of doing our daily work, starting with good communications from the manager to the gatekeeper and from the gatekeeper to manager. It is like a machine; every part is very important for the running of the machine. Put in oil! The machine must be looked after and checked now and then. Pope Francis now is calling us to give attention to the lay people, to the youth who are the majority in the Catholic Church -- to listen and educate them. The farmer in the story was not attentive. He wanted everything to be done for him and waited to collect the cows without doing any work. God gives different talents to everybody for the benefit of the community that we live in. Let us be available every time.


Sister Rita Ishengoma, STH
St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Sisters
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Cellphone: 075-5551735
Email:   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Photographs provided by:

Cephas Yao Agbemenu 
Department of Fine Arts
Kenyatta University
P.O. Box 43844
Nairobi, Kenya
Cellphone: +254 723-307992
Email:   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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