A Drummer's Testament
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Chapter III-22:  The Work Women Do in a House and How They Help One Another   <PDF file>

Types of work women do in the house; the character of Dagbamba women; how women help each other

Paragraph outline and links
Proverbs and sayings
Dagbani words and other search terms

Contents outline and links by paragraph  <top of page>


1.  other work apart from cooking and trading in old days and among typical Dagbamba

Women's work

2.  cooking:  grinding grain with grinding stone (nɛli and nɛkaŋa)
3.  cooking:  pounding in a mortar (toli)
4.  plastering the walls of the house; gather with other neighborhood women; how they feed them
5.  plastering:  mixing the plaster (tari); how they use their hands to spread it
6.  plastering and pounding the floors with flat stick (sampani); gather other women to help
7.  sealing the walls:  use water prepared from pods of kpalgu tree (dasandi)
8.  in the towns, plastering is done by masons; grinding mills have replaced grinding stones
9.  modern shortages:  need to return to the customary tools and work
10.  spinning:  removing the seeds from cotton with guntɔbu
11.  spinning:  spinning the cotton inside guntarga with kalo and jɛni
12.  spinning:  selling the cotton or keeping it for funeral

How the women live with one another

13.  many women like to live in a house with other wives
14.  many women who are single wives do not understand the experience of cooperation and help
15.  they help one another to make shea butter or to trade
16.  help one another with problems like funerals; accompany to the funeral house
17.  help with weddings; gifts for the bride; also gifts when a child is born
18.  protect one another from shame; contribute money to a group fund; wear some cloth in a group
19.  example:  Alhaji Ibrahim’s amaliya in two groups; how they contribute
20.  example:  how the group contributed when the wife’s daughter married
21.  example:  how the group of forty women will sew similar cloths for a wedding

Bad women

22.  some women are selfish and not helpful; some women bluff others with what they have
23.  because of bluffing, many women do not want to borrow from one another
24.  contrast with the generosity of some women who always help people on their own
25.  many types of bad women:  selfish, bluffing, borrowing money, gossiping, adultery
26.  need for husband and wife to listen and understand; bad women don’t listen to husband or cowives

The work in the house

27.  when women help one another with the work, they are happy in the house; they like where they are
28.  the women know the benefit of their work
29.  women’s sense:  they remember everything and will remind the husband when they quarrel
30.  despite women’s sense, God has given men control; women accept their position

Women do not talk about the people or the issues in their household

31.  men look at women’s work to know their hearts; women do not talk about their house
32.  example:  how women refused to talk about the people in their house
33.  women follow the talk of their husbands
34.  many differences; cannot generalize; men and women have many ways to live together
35.  Alhaji Ibrahim will try to separate the talks; John should ask questions to help clarify

How women communicate in the house

36.  how women gather in a house to make one mouth to talk to their husband
37.  singing proverbs to communicate, especially shy women; can make complaint or cause trouble
38.  a woman is like the heart; can bring good or bad talks

The bad traits of women

39.  women do not forget; they remember what the husband has said in the past
40.  someone who does not forget has bad sense
41.  women have more sense than men, but their sense can do bad things
42.  some women can kill their husbands; use medicines in food

Dagbamba stories about bad women

43.  old Dagbamba tell a story about an egg; how the husband tested the wife
44.  the story comes from what they have seen; some women can do bad things
45.  typical Dagbamba do not tell their wives house much money they have

Sharing and not sharing secrets

46.  a husband and wife know each other’s secrets; a woman will not show all her secrets
47.  example:  woman will not ask a man for sex
48.  a man cannot know all the talks of women; they do hard work but they are jealous

Proverbs and Sayings  <top of page>

All our old talks, we are going back to search for them.

Our elders talked, and they told us that we shouldn’t leave our customs.  And they said we would come back to our customs.

How it is coming now, if we don’t look for our old things, the suffering we are eating today will look better than the suffering of those who will be coming.  And so we will go into our old talks again.

A person gets a good thing to put down for those following.

There are some women, the way they live is to help others.  And there are some women, they take their sense to get for themselves.

How women live, they bluff one another.

There can be a woman in the house, and she has no time to bluff.  But as there are many women in the house, there will be some who like to bluff.  And those who bluff, they bluff to show themselves on those who don’t bluff.  And it is in all their bluffing that we get to know that one woman is better than another woman.

You can’t catch a live bee and put it into a hole;  it will come out.

The work you like is the work that worries you.

If you want a certain work among many works, and they give you that work, if the work is too much, you can’t say anything because it is you who wanted that work.  If it worries you, you like it.  That is why it worries you; if you didn’t want it, it wouldn’t worry you.

There is no one who will be doing something when there is no benefit from it.

If someone with sense is doing some work, it is because his heart wants the work.

If not because of what you want, no one will see your foolishness.

No one can cheat a woman.

A woman has got a lot of sense, and it is a broad sense, and the sense of a woman is too much to let somebody carry her to his house and just be cheating her.

There is no forgetting within a woman’s sense.

What we take to know what is inside a woman’s heart is that we look at their work.

If a commoner sits in his house and gets the truth, if he goes to the chief’s house, the chief will not take the truth and give to him.

What a person wants, this is what kills him or takes his things.

If you don’t understand the talk I am going to talk, then it will be that hearing has not heard.

“You fall and I will fall”:  that is what makes the playing of dogs to be good.
Fall and fall makes the playing of dogs good.
Fall and fall repairs the playing of dogs.

Someone who cuts proverbs is somebody who wants trouble.

A woman is like the tongue, and again, a woman is like the heart.

This heart:  it is the heart that spoils, and it will bring some bad talk and give it to the tongue; it is this heart which is white, and takes a good talk and gives it to the tongue.

Bad meat:  that is the heart; good meat:  that is the heart.

Bad meat:  that is the tongue; good meat:  that is the tongue.

Sense and sense, there are different types of sense.

If there were no sense, forgetting would forget.

Somebody who holds everything like that is waiting for a bad thing.

A woman’s secret is stronger than ours.

A woman’s sense is a dangerous sense.

Key words for ASCII searches  <top of page>

Towns and places

Cultural groups
Dagbana, Dagbamba

Miscellaneous terms
cowife, cowives
doo  [Parkia biglobosa (Jacq.) R Br. ex Don]
guinea corn
guntobu  (guntɔbu)
jeni  (jɛni)
kpalgu  [Parkia biglobosa (Jacq.) R Br. ex Don]
nekanga  (nɛkaŋa)
neli  (nɛli)
nam  (ŋam)