Igbo: Oke soro ngwere ma mmiri, mmiri guoro ngwere agagi ako oke
Origin: This proverb is widely used in Igbo land. The aged use this to instruct young people and children, mostly in folktales.
Reptiles are good swimmers and can survive in water for a long time. They are cold-blooded and hence can endure (not for long) in icy water. Lizards are reptiles, and their lamellate bodies do not get wet quickly. For our proverb, which compares mammals’ characteristics with reptiles, note that the latter does not have hair.
On the other hand, warm-blooded mammals are naturally distinguished by having hair and fur. Rats are hairy rodents. These rodents can’t last for long in the water. They get easily wet and cold.
We shouldn’t copy others just for the sake of copying. Every human has a distinct identity. Don’t do what others are doing; you are not the same. Doing what others are doing might be costly.