"Nchuuñisibakkaaluigwuoénañ (The fly is not scared of the cow’s nostrils)"
Among the things that drive humans in this world, the survival instinct seems to be one of the strongest. All creatures strive to survive and in the process learn to adapt to whatever conditions present themselves. Fear, in this quest to adapt, is banished and so we learn to live alongside what is available and avoid what does not support life. Our Annang forebears observed that despite the size of the fly, it is seen flying around and on the cow that can easily step on it. When the survival instinct requires action, nothing is too big that cannot be attempted. As flies are not scared of the big nostrils of the cow because of its need to survive, those driven and hungry for success and achievement must climb various mountains and overcome obstacles to achieve their goals.
St. Augustine, one of the early church fathers, wrote that humans everywhere have one wish and that is to be happy, but oftentimes the same people who wish to be happy live a life that makes happiness impossible. How true indeed that those who have very little money are the ones who live a life devoid of thrift. They spend the little they have and find it impossible to delay gratification. When you ask them what they want most in life they mention money but fail to realize that money comes through saving not through spending. Many of us want to be loved and needed but fail to recognize that we earn friends by being friendly. We walk around carrying our negative emotions on our faces and fail to smile at the person next to us, and then we wonder why we have not found that special person. We find ways to cut corners at work and fail to win the admiration of our supervisors and employers and then we wonder why we have not climbed the promotion ladder. A wish for happiness is fulfilled when we live a life that makes happiness possible. An Annang man once complained that he was not happy with his wife and called his extended family members to announce that he was determined to find the happiness that had been elusive. The next week he called his family again to announce that he has taken a second wife. Little did he know that taking a second wife was not the road to happiness.
To our forebears, the fly does what appears impossible, but such feat is seen as necessary for survival. St Francis of Assisi, the Italian saint, gave three conditions for achieving the impossible namely: doing what is necessary, and then doing what is possible and finally we’ll find ourselves doing the impossible. I spoke once with a very powerful man who is very renowned in his profession, and I asked him how he began and what influenced him. When the man said that he did not go to secondary school, he sounded like a phony but his story soon gave me an inspiration that we can do anything if we try and if we are not afraid. He told me about growing up very poor, serving as houseboys and working a very low paying job. He learnt about the general certificate of education (GCE) studies and read up on his own. He took and passed the examination. He then enrolled in the advanced section of the same examination and scored enough to gain admission to the university. Today, he is one of the most educated person because he began with what was necessary: reading to educate the self, and then he took what was possible and that was the examination and finally he achieved the impossible which was getting a university degree without a secondary school enrolment. What are you afraid of and what is keeping you down? Are you listening to the voice that says it is impossible or are you listening to your hope? May you rise today above the voice of self-doubt and may you open the veil of fear to see the streams that nature provided for you.
Adede (Abom) Ezekiel Ette, Ph.D.
For Annang Writers Association (A division of Annang Heritage Preservation Inc.)
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DISCLAIMER: Views expressed here are solely that of the author and do not represent the official position of Annang Heritage Preservation Inc. or any of its affiliate or chapter around the world.