The humble wife and her mean and greedy husband


By Siahyonkron Nyanseor


The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
October 29, 2014

                  



 

Once there was a mean and greedy husband; he was so mean and greedy; he had his wife to enter into an agreement with him so that when he dies, the wife would bury ALL of his money with him in the grave. The humble wife was practically forced to sign the agreement and they had it notarized. It reads: “When I die, you (the wife) agreed to bury ALL of my money with me in my grave.” After she entered the contract with her husband, she told her friends and relatives about the agreement she had signed with her sick husband. They called her all sorts of names - naïve, silly and downright STUPID.

Two and a half years after the agreement was executed, Mr. Charlie S. Buggar, Sr. died. Once again, the friends and relatives told Mrs. Buggar not to follow through with the agreement since her husband is dead. She refused, and said to them that it was an agreement done with her husband in “good faith” when he was alive; and that she could not go back on her words. “My words are my bond,” she said. You can imagine what they (her friends and relatives) must have said behind her back!

On the day of the funeral, Mrs. Buggar got her husband’s “BIG Suitcase”; she marked it with the inscription that reads: “My Husband’s Earthly Possession for the life beyond.” She placed the money inside the BIG Suitcase to be buried along with him. And they did just that; buried him with ALL of his money.

After the funeral, the press described the incident as, “A wife buried her husband in the fashion of an Egyptian Pharaoh.” On that day, it was the lead story in ALL of the newspapers in the town. However, at the repass, the wife told her friends and relatives that she buried her husband with ALL his money. “I wrote him a CHECK that reads, pay to the order of Charlie Stupid Buggar, Sr.; signed, Mary Wise Buggar. She added, “The reason I placed the CHECK in the BIG Suitcase was to throw the people at the funeral off, including all of you (friends and relatives).” At this point, her friends and relatives burst into jubilation and laughter. They laughed so hard until they cried.

The moral of the story is, never tell all of your plans to friends and relatives, because they might likely mislead you. But there is one person in whom you can TRUST that will NOT mislead you, and that is, God Almighty!

But then I realize how difficult it would be due to our colonial divide, the artificial boundaries that divide us into camps - Anglo-phone, Franco-phone countries – with no consideration for our linguistic groups (tribes). Due to this divide, Africans see themselves through these foreign cultural lenses, at the expense and disadvantage of their own rich African cultures. With ‘flag independence’, we still behave like Kofi Appiah in the classic Ghanaian movie, “Love Brewed in the African Pot” (1981).

This belief or theology is best explained in the book by the Tunis born prolific writer, Albert Memmi, titled: The Colonizer and the Colonized.  The book was written in 1965. It explained the role European church and their partner – the colonizers played in imposing European culture and religious hegemony on us, and designated our cultures and way of life as inferior. And we bought into it like Kofi Appiah in “Love Brewed in the African Pot.” This story is similar to the late Prof. Chinua Achebe’s novel, “Things Fall Apart”.  In “Love Brewed in the African Pot,” the Appiah family is typical of the new Ghanaian middle class, whose members are doing their level, genteel best to carry on the traditions of their departed white colonial masters.

 

There is some similarity of foreign influence in Memmi’s chapter - The Colonizer and the Colonized, titled:“Mythical portrait of the colonized,” he writes:

“…Let us imagine, for the sake of this portrait and accusation, the often-cited trait of laziness. It seems to receive unanimous approval of colonizers from Liberia (emphasis is mine) to Laos, via the Maghreb. It is easy to see to what extent this description is useful. It occupies an important place in the dialectics exalting the colonizer and humbling the colonized. Furthermore, it is economically fruitful.

“Nothing could better justify the colonizer’s privileged position than his industry, and nothing could justify the colonized’s destitution than his indolence. The mythical portrait of the colonized therefore includes an unbelievable laziness, and that of the colonizer, a virtuous taste for action. At the same time the colonizer suggests that employing colonized is not very profitable, thereby authorizing his unreasonable wages.” (p. 79)

The European Christian Church
On the other hand, he added, “…The relations between the church (Catholic or Protestant) and colonialism are more complex than is heard among thinkers of the left. To be sure, the church has greatly assisted the colonialist; backing his ventures, helping his conscience, contributing to the acceptance of colonization-even by the colonized… But when colonialism proved to be deadly, damaging scheme, the church washed its hands of it everywhere. …The colonialist rewarded the church for its assistance by granting it substantial privileges-land, subsidies and adequate place for its role in the colony”. (p. 72)

Today, the church plays similar role between the ruler and the ruled. For example, the ‘Christian Church’ in Liberia has remained too silence these 8 years – allowing the ruler (government) to mortgage the people’s minerals, natural resources and land to foreign companies for chicken feed; engaged in corrupt practices, violated the constitution, human and civil rights of the ruled with impunity. Instead of leading the way to speak and fight against the government’s policies, the church adhered to the practice of – ‘separation of church and state’ and is looking to the West for redemption, when the West itself is badly in need of both moral and spiritual redemption. Yet, we Africans continued to take our cues from the West, whether it be good, bad or ugly.

Bert Farias makes a compelling case regarding the ‘moral decadent’ from which the rest of the world gets its matching order. In Farias’ article, “The Great Deception,” he talked about the great moral decline of the last generation (50-60 years). According to him:

“…The divorce rate has doubled, teen suicide has tripled, reported violent crime has quadrupled, the prison population has quintupled, the percentage of babies born out of wedlock has risen six-fold, couples living together out of wedlock have increased sevenfold, and gay marriage is now a legalized reality in a number of states, and many believe the end is not in sight.

“In this past generation we have experienced an overwhelming increase in lawlessness, permissiveness, and selfishness, even among Christians. Moral actions that were unthinkable a few decades ago are now commonplace: Christian leaders indulging in sexual sin, addicted to pornography, accompanied by an exploding divorce rate have greatly factored in the rapid decrease of morals in the American church. And as the Church goes, so goes the world. In fact, the results of  a survey among young American adults  showed that the percentage who follow Biblically based values for living has now dropped from 65% to a mere 4% since WW II.

 

 “There has never been a society in the history of mankind whose moral values have deteriorated so dramatically, in such a short period of time, as those of Americans in the last 50 years. And so far, it shows no sign of stopping. These statistics are eye opening and they serve to warn us that something is terribly wrong with our brand of Christianity. They reveal how poorly the Church has communicated the true gospel to mainstream America, and thus the reason for so much deception in our culture”. (“The Great Deception”, Bert Farias, published in The Flaming Herald, May 7, 2014)

Liberia too, is a country founded on Christian principles, and that copied the good, the bad and ugly from America. It is a classic case that does not want to do away with the North America antebellum plantation culture of the master and servant relationship, which the leaders of the Unity Party (UP) have perfected. This dependent behavior caused the leaders not to plan ahead in putting in place systems and preventive protocols to treat the Ebola virus that was forewarned in March this year.

Also, in March 21, 2013, the late Prophetess Annie Wolo is quoted in an article written by journalist Tarnyon Nyenon, as: 

“I don’t know what Ellen is doing with all the aid that she is getting from the International Community, because the Liberian people are still suffering.

“There is no safe drinking water. There is no electricity. There is still corruption in Liberia. Liberia is polluted!

“There is witchcraft all over the place. The Lord told me, unless we pray, we are going nowhere.”

This reminds me of the story that involved a humble lady and her mean and greedy husband. He was so mean and greedy; he had his wife to enter into an agreement with him so that when he dies, the wife would bury him with ALL of his money in the grave. The humble wife was practically forced to sign the agreement and they had it notarized. It reads: “When I die, you (the wife) agreed to bury ALL of my money with me in my grave.” After she entered the contract with her husband, she told her friends and relatives about the agreement she had signed with her sick husband. They called her all sorts of names - naïve, silly and downright STUPID.

Two and a half years after the agreement was executed, Mr. Charlie S. Buggar, Sr. died. Once again, the friends and relatives told Mrs. Buggar not to follow through with the agreement since her husband is dead. She refused, and said to them that it was an agreement done with her husband in “good faith” when he was alive; and that she could not go back on her words. “My words are my bond,” she said. You can imagine what they (her friends and relatives) must have said behind her back!

 

On the day of the funeral, Mrs. Buggar got her husband’s “BIG Suitcase” that she marked with the inscription that reads: “My Husband’s Earthly Possession for the life Beyond”. She placed his money inside the BIG Suitcase to be buried along with him. And they did just that; buried him with ALL of his money.

After the funeral, the press described the incident as, “A wife buried her husband in the fashion of an Egyptian Pharaoh.” On that day, it was the lead story in ALL of the newspapers in the town. However, at the repass, the wife told her friends and relatives that she buried her husband with ALL his money. She went on to say, “I wrote him a CHECK that reads, pay to the order of Charlie Stupid Buggar, Sr.; signed, Mary Wise Buggar. She added, “The reason I placed the CHECK in the BIG Suitcase was to throw the people at the funeral off, including all of you (friends and relatives).” At this point, her friends and relatives burst into jubilation and laughter. They laughed so hard until they cried.

The moral of the story is, never tell all of your plans to friends and relatives, because they might likely mislead you; but there is one person in whom you can TRUST that will NOT mislead you, and that person is, God Almighty!

 

Sources

Memmi, Albert (1967). The Colonizer and the Colonized. Boston: Beacon Press.

Farias, Bert. “The Great Deception”, published in The Flaming Herald, May 7, 2014.

Nyenon, Tarnyon, “I DON’T KNOW WHAT…” - PROPHETESS WOLO. March 21, 2013.

Andrews, G. Henry. CRY, LIBERIA, CRY…

About The Author: Siahyonkron Nyanseor is the Chair of the ULAA Council of Eminent Persons (UCEP), Inc. He is a poet, Griot, journalist, and a cultural and political activist. In 2012, he Co-authored Djogbachiachuwa: The Liberian Literature Anthology; his book of poems: TIPOSAH: Message from the Palava Hut is now on the market. Nyanseor can be reached at: siah1947@gmail.com


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