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10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, 11 February, 2012
Maryknoll Society House
144 Manyani Road West (near Lavington) Nairobi, Kenya


  1. Allan Babunga (DRC) ……….Recording
  2. Cephas Agbemenu (Ghana) ….Chairing
  3. Joseph Healey (USA)………...Guiding
  4. Tyty Mukendi (DRC)
  5. Fidel Kabasele (DRC)
  6. Simon Rurinjah (KENYA)
  7. Francis Njuguna (KENYA)
  8. Elysee Meta (DRC)
  9. Jeremiah Wamukota Sudi (KENYA)
  10. Grace Njau (Kenya)
  11. Angelica Chelo (DRC)
  12. Benon Chelo (DRC
New Members
  1. Elysee Meta
  2. Jeremiah Wamukota Sudi
Absent with apology
  1. George Atido
  2. Seth Wekesa
  3. Gerald Wanjohi
  4. Rita Ishengoma
  5. Donald Sybertz
  6. Jane Mumbi
  7. Martin Mugo
  8. Francis Kimani
  9. Evans Nyakundi
  10. Seth Wekesa
  11. Kamau Wango
  12. Jennifer Wango
Back row standing L-R: Elsee Meta; Tyty Mukendi; Angelica Chelo; Allan Babunga,
Benon Chelo; Joe Healey; Francis Njuguna;
Front row L-R: Jeremiah Wamutoka; Simon Rurinjah; Fidel Kabasele and Sr. Grace Njau


 1. Introduction:

The introduction prayer was given by Benon Chelo who did it in style with his guitar while reciting his poem entitled “You Are Beautiful”. 12 members were in attendance including three women: Angelica Chelo, Elysee Meta and Sister Grace Njau.

2. 2012 African Proverbs Calendar:

Members were asked to give their feedback on our 2012 Calendar:

Allan: The calendar in general was great and nice, but I realize two things to improve it: First, the picture in the month of November, 2012 does not match with the proverb: the theme and the proverb talk about hospitality while the picture shows people in hospital. Second, the font of numbers should be enlarged.

Francis: Observed that not all proverbs have their French translation.

Sr. Grace: Suggested that everything be enlarged and filled in to avoid many empty spaces.

Healey: The feedback was huge and very positive as shown by the letter from Raymond G. Chambers of the Secretariat for Malaria in the UN Headquarters in New York.

Cephas: Seeing that people are very happy with our work on the calendar I think we should use that opportunity to show them our needs. So why don’t we draft a letter to seek assistance from them?  Not necessarily monetary but can be in terms of equipment like computers, pads, cameras and projectors to be used in our meetings. A small group comprised of Cephas and Allan with help from Joe Healey should sit and look at this issue. Among the agencies to be contacted include UNESCO and Government Foreign Missions. Even individuals who may have information about organizations which sponsor international workshops about proverbs.

Suggestions for the Theme of the 2013 African Proverbs Calendar

Allan: I suggest the theme to be about Poverty Alleviation.
Cephas: As the 2012 theme about Women was very successful why don’t we repeat it again this year?
Francis: Let us focus on Ecology.
Healey: To avoid repetitions and to avoid showing to the world all the negativity about Africa I think we need to focus on things which African are good at: Joy and Celebration. This is what Africa is known for.
Healey: Right now in the middle of the discussion on this agenda I have used my computer to go online on the  

African Proverbs, Sayings and Stories Facebook Page

There are over 12,000 fans on this page.  12,348 12,348I asked these fans to suggest themes. Here are some of the answers (posts) that I have just received in real time: Africa: past, present and future; Children; Homecoming; Knowledge; Long Life, Happiness, and Prosperity; Unity; and Wisdom.

By the end of the meeting there was a good support for the theme “Joy and Happiness”

3. Future Proverbs of the Month and Update Reports on New Booklets:

a. Report on New Booklets.
Members were happy to receive 10 booklets of 100 Orma, Kenya proverbs from Angelica and Ricardo, a work left behind by the late Calvin Chelo.

Allan Babunga: My 100 Lingala proverbs are in draft form, but unfortunately it’s almost six months now that my computer broke down. Once it is ready I will need to type and the edit all the material before submitting it. Please bear with me.

Seth Wekesa who is working on a Maragoli Booklet is currently in South Africa. Joe Healey sent him an email requesting him to send us even the draft that he has by File Attachment. No answer so far from him.

b. New Proposals
Elysee Meta presented a proposal for a collection of Kongo proverbs from DRC.
Members welcomed the idea as by voting unanimously in favor as Kongo is one of the national languages of DRC.

Angelica and Ricardo Benon Chelo also presented a proposal to collect Borana proverbs from Kenya. Members accepted the proposal but with one condition that amendments be included: The two names of the co-writers to appear on both the proposal and the final booklet; and include a map of where the Borana language is spoken. The group also asks Angelica and Ricardo to use our usual format for writing proposals and finally to state clearly what is the problematic in Boranaland.

Winnie Katungwa who was supposed to present a proposal of collection of Kamba, Kenya proverbs didn’t show up; the reason for her absence has yet to be established.

A group of refugees living in Tanzania was to send their representative and make a proposal for a collection of Nyindu proverbs but they were unable to attend the meeting due to transport problems.

Members decided that Winnie Katungwa’s proposal and that from the Refugees Group will be discussed in our next meeting.

Fr. Healey reported that the funds can be released to the recipients only after the posting of the relevant minutes on the website of  This is a new guideline from the sponsors.

c. Summary of African Proverbs of the Month

January, 2011: Haya (Tanzania) Proverb–Rita Ishengoma

February, 2011: Hangaza (Tanzania) Proverb -- Joseph Nkumbulwa and Pascal Durand (accompanied by Booklet of 100 Hangaza Proverbs). New language

March, 2011: Rwanda (Rwanda) and Rundi (Burundi) Proverb -- Jonathan Musere

April, 2011: Sukuma (Tanzania) Proverb –Joseph Nkumbulwa and Pascal Durand

May, 2011: Lingala (Democratic Republic of Congo – DRC) Proverb -- Allan Babunga (Booklet of 100 Lingala Proverbs to be provided later). New language

June, 2011: Kara (Tanzania) Proverb -- Joseph Nkumbulwa and Pascal Durand (accompanied by Booklet of 100 Kara Proverbs). New language

July, 2011: Songye (Democratic Republic of Congo --DRC) Proverb --Muteba Kazadi (accompanied by Booklet of 100 Songye Proverbs). New language

August, 2011: Gusii (Kenya) Proverb -- Evans Nyakundi

September, 2011: Alur (DRC, Uganda) Proverb – George Atido (accompanied by Booklet of 100 Alur Proverbs). New language

October, 2011: Tshiluba (Democratic Republic of Congo --DRC) Proverb – Tyty Mukendi (accompanied by Booklet of 100 Tshiluba Proverbs).  New language

November, 2011: Acholi (Uganda, Sudan) Proverb -- Thomas Komakech

December, 2011: Maragoli [Luyia] (Kenya) Proverb– Seith Wekesa (Booklet of 100 Maragoli Proverbs to be provide later). New language

January, 2012: Kerewe (Tanzania) Proverb -- Joseph Nkumbulwa and Pascal Durand

February, 2012:  Orma (Kenya) Proverb– Katabarwa Family (accompanied by Booklet of 100 Orma Proverbs). New language. 101st African language.

March, 2012: Sukuma (Tanzania) Proverb – Donald Sybertz
Ng’wigulya, Tungu ngwana wane (Look up, Tungu my child) that comes from a true story during famine time.

April, 2012: Kuba (DRC) Proverb – Fidele Kabasale (accompanied by Booklet of 100 Kuba Proverbs). New language. 102nd African language.

May, 2012: Subi (Tanzania) Proverb -- Joseph Nkumbulwa and Pascal Durand
When the crocodile jumps around he ends up by receiving the spear.

June, 2012
: Ewe (Ghana, Togo) Proverb – Cephas Agebemenu

July, 2012: Shubi (Tanzania) Proverb -- Joseph Nkumbulwa and Pascal Durand
Water follows the slope (English).

August, 2012: Kikuyu (Kenya) Proverb – Grace Njau

September, 2012: open

October, 2012: open

November, 2012: open

December, 2012: Kikuyu (Kenya) Proverb – Simon Rurinjah
A home has one man and one woman.

Being Prepared:

Longo (Tanzania) and Sumbwa (Tanzania) are ready in Pascal Durand’s email of 19 April, 2011.

Kamba (Kenya) Proverb -- Julius Mutuku Muindi
Clothes may disguise a fool, but words will give the person away.

Kamba (Kenya) Proverb -- Julius Mutuku Muindi
If it lacks a leader the herd will always drink muddy water.

Kikuyu (Kenya Proverb –  ?
Utonga ni matigari ma nda (Kikuyu)
Wealth is what remains after satisfying your stomach" (English) or Wealth is what remains after your stomach is full (English)

Acholi (Uganda, Sudan) Proverb -- Thomas Komakech
They share only water from the well.

Relate to the theme of the Second African Synod (Oct. 4 - 25, 2009): "The Church in Africa in Service to RECONCILIATION, JUSTICE AND PEACE" in the context of Reconciliation.
The meaning of the proverb is: "They share only water from the well." Because they are so hostile to one another, the only thing they have in common is the village well. It is also used in another sense to mean that although they are so hostile, they still belong to one home, in that they share the same well. That is, there are times when they must unite to face an external aggressor. This proverb could be interpreted in many ways; another meaning in the Christian sense could be that God's gift (Christ as a river) always unite us (cf. John17:20 - 21).

Karamojong (Uganda) Proverb – Callisto Locheng
He or she has stepped on the ashes or the kitchen

Gikuyu (Kenya) Proverb: Francis Njuguna
Young male bull mounts the female from the head or the front (the wrong way).
Teaching: Learning from the elders. Lack of guidance. Youth foolishly do things on their own. Well known among young people in Nairobi.

Gusii (Kenya) Proverb – Evans Nyakundi
Yabobisa teri maira.
Jelaha la adui halina usaha.
The wound inflicted by the enemy never forms pus.
OR The wound of the enemy has no pus.

Luyia [Lwisukha] (Kenya) Proverb – Benedict Lusambili
Borana (Kenya) Proverb -- Ricardo Benjamin and Angelica Chelo

Kongo (Republic of Congo – DRC, Angola) Proverb – Elysee Meta

Gikuyu (Kenya) Proverb – Kamau Wango

Twi (Ghana) Proverb - Avraham Hayam
Baabi a ödö wö na asomdwoeé wö.
Where there is love there is peace.

4. Promoting our Website

In our last meetings members were encouraged to visit our website from time to time and thus benefit from it. Members were also urged to participate in our web poll by voting for their favorite proverb, but this does not seem to happen as some of our members show that they have never visited our website and don’t know how to get our website on the internet. It was also agreed that other members who have their own blogs create a link from their blogs or Facebook pages to our website in order to bring many people to benefit from it but very little has happened so far. Please be active on the internet; in that way you can see and enjoy what is on it. We normally post a proverb each month with explanations and biblical parallels. We also have a good number of eBooks published by our members and many other contents.

Joe Healey took us through the data from our Facebook Page that now has 12,349 fans (friends). He also listed them according to country where they come from. USA tops the list followed by Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, United Kingdom, South Africa and Uganda.

5. AOB

Grace Njau: The calendar could be printed and put in the National Mirror as a marketing option; but the question arises: who will pay for the cost as the committee doesn’t have any money for this project?

Allan, Cephas and Healey should sit and search for research or cultural organizations which can assist us with equipment.

Next meeting to be organized at Kenyatta University with the proposed date of Saturday, 7 April, 2012 at 10 a.m.

The closing prayer was led by Fidele Kabasele using a proverb in his home language.


Members enjoyed lunch prepared by the Maryknoll community. Thanks to Fr. Healey for the meal and all the preparations including documents and new hand-outs and the nice meeting space.














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