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Site Last Update: 26 Jan, 2020
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African Proverb of the Month
March, 2007

Faa yalo dzwaa gbe.. (Ga)

The one who fetches the water is the one who is likely to break the pot. (English )

Ga (Ghana) Proverb

Background, Explanation, Meaning and Everyday Use

In this Ghanaian proverb the one who fetches the water ("fetches" here refers to going to the river or to a long distance tap) is the one who is likely to break the earthenware pot. If you cannot make any contribution to help in whatever endeavor is going on, then do not sit down and criticize those who have chosen to work hard to help, and who in doing so, make some genuine mistakes.

Biblical Parallels

Luke 6:42: "Or how can you tell your brother, 'Brother, let me remove the speck of chaff that is in your eye,' when you yourself don't see the beam that is in your own eye? You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck of chaff that is in your brother's eye."

Matthew 7:1 "Judge not least you be judged."

Contemporary Use and Religious Application

No one is perfect so we should not point fingers at others’ imperfections, but rather make it a point to encourage those who are willing to risk everything and to try anything.


Salome Hammond

Seattle, Washington.

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