African Proverbs with Simon Okelo

” The creator has created lands with lakes and rivers for man to live. And the desert so that he can find his soul.” ~ #Tuareg proverb

On this day I had the opportunity to have my daughter share her interpretation of this proverb. (That warmed my heart so much) Her view is a much different one that many others because her experiences of life is different. When we take notice of the differences we are able to grow and learn from each other.

I felt this proverb saying that we should value what we have been given to use freely. Those are things that we tend to lose sight of in the midst of what we must do and have to do each and everyday. It can become overwhelming at times and has the potential to divert our attention to the things that we buy instead of the things that we are given.

Over time I have learned to appreciate and to show appreciation to what I am given. I’ve become much more mindful of words, time, and attention.

My daughter brought up the fact that by being by the water we are also close to the resources that we need. Housing, community, etc. She also noted the connection between the desert being both a place of desperation and self-reflection. Growth happens after getting out of the desert.

So many interpretations but each one is very valuable.

What does this #Tuareg proverb mean to you?

(Join the Daily African Proverbs Room on Club by going to the African Father in America Club)

My name is Simon Javan Okelo. I grew up in the slums of Manyatta in Kisumu, Kenya, serving as the Field Director of Solace International and Co-Director of the Young Generation Centre from 2002-2010 where I directed humanitarian projects in Malawi, Kenya, Ghana, Liberia, and South Sudan. I also worked as a DJ and producer, organizing Unite The People concerts in 2008 in the wake of post-election violence and founding One Vibe Africa.

I came to the US in 2010, and I have since organized events and digital campaigns celebrating the African diaspora locally and globally. For example, since 2014 I have organized Madaraka Festival at The Museum of POP Culture headlined by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Sauti Sol, Blitz The Ambassador, Rocky Dawuni, Meklit Hadero, Nik West, Naomi Wachira, Karun, and other renowned grammy award winning artists.


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