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Africa Igbo culture proverbs

African Proverb: On the Child Strapped Behind The Mother

Igbo: Nwata akwô na azú amaghī na ùzó di anya

English: A child strapped to the back of the mother does not know the journey is far.

Origin: The Igbo people of Southern Nigeria use this adage.

In many societies, it’s prevalent to see mothers, young and old, strap their babies behind them, especially when they need both hands to attend to something else. For instance, if a mother straps her infant behind, she is busy washing, cooking or attending to a chore.

When walking long distances and travelling, mothers carry their babies behind to have free hands to carry the luggage. Though it seems natural and an easy thing, it leaves mothers exhausted by day end. The baby’s weight and care given to keep her relaxed on the mother’s body takes a lot of energy.

Meaning: Literally, the proverb talks about a baby riding behind the mother, unaware of the stress or burden. Indeed, sleeping and happy babies like the one in this blog post do not know the pain their mothers endure to keep them relaxed and safe.

In another context, the proverb talks about the help rendered to people who are oblivious of the trouble helpers go through to provide the service.

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