Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Genesis stories

Creation: Spring & Easter

Knowledge cuts up the world. Wisdom makes it whole. (Brazil)

Everybody who read dem Bible know dat God make heaven and earth from de start. Nothing at all was on earth, no shape or form. Just pure darkness. So God say, “Let there be light”, and that is how light come. And de part dat never have light, God call it “night”. So now we have day one.

Next day, the light show God dat everywhere on earth was just water, deep deep water. So him take de sky and separate water from water.

Third day now, God bunch up de water in some places, and him call dat “sea” and “ocean”. The dry part God call “land”. Him like what him see, and decide to put plants and trees on the land. So when you eat mango and banana, and when you enjoy a pot of rice and peas, you must never forget where dem come from. Dat's why we always give thanks before we eat.

By day four, God make de sun as de light to rule de day, and the moon to rule de night. And him say dat is how to mark de calendar with day and month and year.

Next day, God make fish and bird. Him make animal dat wild and animal dat tame.

The sixth day, God create man and woman. Him mek dem de boss of everything, from what fly and swim to what run and crawl. Plus, God give man and woman every kind of tree dat bear fruit and plant dat carry seed, so dem can eat and thrive.

By the seventh day, creation done, and God take a rest. Dat is why we keep de Sabbath holy and go to church and worship God on dat day.

What I tell you here is de complete truth. Except for this next part how God create the first man and woman, Adam and Eve.

God take dust from the ground and make man. Then he breathe life into man's nose and man come alive. God make a garden dat him call Eden, and him put man in it wid every pretty tree and fruit tree dat you can think of. Included in de garden was a tree of life and a tree of good and evil. Some say de garden create first, and some say man create first. Eden did also have a river to feed de plants and give man water to drink.

Now God tell the man to look after the garden and eat everything him see except for fruit from the tree of good and evil. "You will surely dead if you eat dat fruit," God say. Man also get birds and tame animals, but him don't satisfy. Him want a companion.

Well, God make man go to sleep, take out one of his rib, and dat is how woman form. The two of dem naked, but dem don't feel no shame.

And dat is how man and woman get into the garden of Eden. How God come to run dem out is another story.

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When the occasion arises, there is a proverb to suit it. (Proverb from Rwanda and Burundi)

Welcome to this space where we can talk about proverbs that we can relate to (or not), and proverbs that make sense to us (or not). Most of all we can discuss how proverbs make us think about life and living. We can also share experiences of proverbs that have provided us with lifelines or just the chance to reflect.

Some of the proverbs here may also be found in "Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs", published by Random House and authored by Askhari Johnson Hodari and me. The foreword is written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

One of the unique features of our book is that we arranged the proverbs according to life cycle, in sections including, Birth, Childhood, Love, Marriage, and Intimacy, Challenge, and Death.

For more proverbs and for information on Lifelines: the Black Book of Proverbs, please visit us at