Wednesday, June 22, 2011

sometime he go broke corn, give you

Ali came over yesterday. brought me names of the girls in school for the EDDI scholarships, insha'Allah. he stayed a while. there was a brief – very brief – moment when i was unsure what to talk about. i brought up the topic of the dead/dying chickens... that's all it took. 1 hour and 45 minutes later, with Ali talking and my occasional "na true - for sure - na so it be - that is it," we prayed dhuhur [midday prayer] and he left.

what did we discuss? everything! Ali was dropping knowledge. imparting wisdom. seriously. he get sense ya! and a way with words. can turn a phrase like nobody's business. pragmatic. unbiased. witty. honest/forthright. progressive. we/he talked about farmer-grazier conflicts, court-case corruption, endless/useless bribing, fulani-native relations, the Ardu [local Fulani chief] and his people, Ukpwa land issues...

Ali is open and honest. tells it like it is. he'll break down the issues but not leave it at that... he gives his opinion on solutions. what he would've done. simple but direct solutions. and i think that makes all the difference... someone who has the insight into problems but proposed solutions, as well. practical solutions. with compromise and understanding. gotta respect someone like that.

two things he said that i'm not trying to forget and thus practice, insha'Allah:
  1. power is with the majority, not the leader. it is with the people. (this was in reference to going to leaders to work out farmer-grazier conflicts instead of working them out as neighbors... with the people... i think???) a wise leader follows his people as much as they follow him.
  2. and strength is in family/community. nowhere else. a man with no family is without true allies. and often without strength.
let me end with a memorable quote, on the amicable solution to farmer-grazier issues based on working them out as neighbors – without involving the higher-ups. "you know, sometime he go broke corn, give you." [i.e. the farmer will share his corn with the grazier]. and that classic Ali laugh and wink.

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