Need a little life advice? These words of wisdom from tribal elders will help
Ever wondered what the secret to living a better, happier life is? Yep, us too.
Which is why we bring you these words of advice which might just shine a light. Passed on by tribal chiefs and village elders to their children and grandchildren, these pearls of wisdom were all designed to help the future generation lead a happier, more fulfilled life.
In many traditional cultures, elders are considered to be ‘wisdom keepers’ and are hugely respected in their communities. So you can bet that when they do offer advice, it’s going to be pretty good. Ranging from sage sayings to inspiring personal anecdotes, each one is genius. The kind of genius that you want to print and stick on your fridge so that you see it every day when you’re making your morning coffee. Because who doesn’t like a little inspiration when they’re getting their daily caffeine fix?
So what exactly can we take away from these words of wisdom? Well, the first thing we noticed was that they are all surprisingly similar. In fact, despite the advice coming from all around the world, there was a running theme to it. Whether they were leading a rural village or an urban community, the elders all stressed the importance of love, peace and working together as a team. And of course, valuing people over possessions – something a lot of us tend to forget once in a while.
Each of these personal insights were collected from respected men and women from communities in Madagascar, Pakistan, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia by international charity WaterAid. Each elder is part of a community benefitting from one of their water and sanitation projects – part of WaterAid’s work which brought safe water to 2 million people last year. Here is what they each had to say…
‘When spiders’ webs unite they can tie down a lion.’
Kebebush Benti, 61, is a mother of one and grandmother of five. She lives in Woliso, Oromia, Ethiopia.
‘Questioning makes knowledge. The one who questions, observes and listens to people is never lost. Lean with your back against someone stronger than you!’
Samb Naaba Sembdoi is the foreign chief of Wapassi, an informal settlement in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou.
‘Work hard and you will eat sweet.’
Noor Samad, 62, is a farmer in the village of Manjhi Wala, in the Muzaffargarh district of Pakistan.
‘I just survive by working hard, by being optimistic for my grandchildren.’
Masha Ingata is around 80. These are her great-great-grandchildren, Adanech Asetu and Amanu Karmu. They live together in Konso, Ethiopia.
‘Unity is such a good thing; those who have unity have everything, those who do not have unity have nothing.’
Muhammad Nawaz, 56, is a farmer in the village of Daira Deen Panah, Tehsil Kot Addu in District Muzaffargarh, Pakistan.
‘Nobody is self-sufficient. Happy are those helping each other.’
Nenifara Razanadravony is 73 years old. Here she’s pictured at home in Fenoarivo village, Ankazobe district, Madagascar.
‘If they hold hands, ants can cross a river.’
Mulugeta Gemeda is 68 years old. He lives in Babich, West Shewa, Ethiopia.
‘Forgiveness is the pillar that supports a community’
Sankodogo Naba Sigri is the chief of Wapassi, an informal settlement in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou.
“Do good in life and you will never regret it.”
Berthine Razaiarivony is 69 years old and lives in Fenoarivo village, in the Ankazobe district of Madagascar.
‘In life there are ups and downs, so you must always be cautious and humble. If you used to walk proudly making noise (kida, kida) with your heels, remember to walk silently and discreetly on your toes.’
Naba Sonre is the chief of Balkuy, a district of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.
‘Love one other because love can move mountains.’
Edmond Ranavoarison, known as RaEd is 70 years old. He lives in Fenoarivo village in the Antotohazo commune, Ankazobe district, Madagascar.
‘Sand scatters, rock unites.’
Razafindrafara, known as Dadafara, is 65 years old. He lives in Fenoarivo, in the Ankazobe district of Madagascar.