Njaa ngla leweni wכ ndoma lכ woma. (Mende)
The dog was beaten by the rain because of love. (Literal English Translation)
Love is blind. (Figurative English Translation)
Mende (Sierra Leone) Proverb
Background, Explanation, Meaning and Everyday Use
A dog will not worry about going after his or her lover in the rain, however heavy that rain might be. This is seen more in the mating season. Among the Mende people in Sierra Leone this expression is used to tease someone who is deeply in love. Such a person will sacrifice personal liberties including one’s livelihood just to keep a relationship to a lover.
Love between a man and a woman when intense can be seen in serious dimensions. A woman would not mind becoming pregnant if that is what sex with a husband-lover would imply. A direct parallel proverb to the above proverb can be rendered in English like this: “A woman will not mind becoming pregnant in the course of pleasing her lover.” Our chosen proverb is a deeper version of this thought.
“Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8).
Contemporary Use and Religious Application
This Mende proverb and this 1 Corinthian 13 passage are popular with preachers especially at weddings. Verse 8 is particularly emphasized in the context of sacrificial love. Some people (not necessarily preachers) have actually committed the entire passage to memory and enjoy reciting it. This verse is sometimes combined with “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). It means that one lives to please the person they love. As Christians how much do we live to please Jesus Christ?
Mr. Moses Kainwo
Christian Commitments Coordinator
World Vision Sierra Leone
39, Freetown Road, Lumley
PMB 59, Freetown, Sierra Leone