The old saying goes: "Man may work from sun to sun, but a woman's work is never done." Even most men nod in agreement with that proverb yet women often go one better: they feel guilty on top of it all. They always have a vague sense that if they were just a little more organized, they could fit in at least two or three more projects.
An initial reading of Proverbs 31, "The Excellent Wife" scripture, confirms what they have known all along - they aren't HER by any stretch of the imagination. After all, when does this woman sleep? "She rises also while it is still night" (Proverbs 31:15) and "Her lamp does not go out at night." (Verse 17)
There is so much activity packed into these twenty two verses, no wonder the first verse wonders: "An excellent wife, who can find?" Is this for real? Is this what is expected of a godly woman? Was there a man back in those Old Testament days who could boast of actually having a Proverbs 31 wife or was the writer indulging in wishful thinking?
Value for Today?
Does Proverbs 31 have anything of value to say to women of the second millennium? YES. These verses can actually provide encouragement rather than self flagellation. Starting with this: our Old Testament sister was quite modern herself.
I've often heard women try to emulate this "superhero" by taking up hand work such as embroidery ("she works with her hands in delight") and sew their own clothes ("And her hands grasp the spindle") and grow their own food ("she plants a vineyard") and squeeze it all in around a full time job and raising children.
But what about this: she made and invested her own money ("She considers a field and buys it; from her earnings she plants a vineyard.") She was an entrepreneur ("And supplies belts to the tradesmen.") She was independent and self confident ("She senses that her gain is good.") How is that so different from thousands of career women living all over the world right now?
If a man expects a woman [Mother or Wife] to be an angel in his life, he much first create Heaven for her. Angels don't life in Hell.
VIDEO- Sweet Mother by Prince Nico. CLICK HERE to Download Audio
Truthfully, in order to produce needed hope and encouragement, we need to catch the spirit of the Proverbs 31 woman instead of her workload. Trying to replicate all that she did will only produce an impossible treadmill and too many are already on one. So what is the heart of this excellent woman?
The Heart of the Matter
The Proverbs 31 woman appears not to be burdened with the guilt which many superwomen today can't seem to escape. Is that because she was on top of everything; being so perfect and all? I think instead it is because she had a sense of her purpose and truly enjoyed fulfilling it. That's why she could "smile at the future." (Verse 25) People who do what they love or what they feel called to do, usually feel more exhilarated than tired at the end of a long day.
Yes, but what about women who aren't doing what they love? Fine if you have an exciting career but what if you are doing what you HAVE to do in order to survive? There is a deeper career for each of us - no exceptions, than any life circumstance we may have. It is the call and purpose of God. Find it no matter what you do daily and you find a key to the spirit of Proverbs 31.
Here's another insight into the success of this godly woman which all can follow without overload: she was trustworthy. That worked to her advantage, producing favor in all her relationships which in turn increased her satisfaction with life. Who doesn't want to hear: "Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her." (Verse 28) That sure goes a long way in relieving the burden of the maxim "but woman's work is never done."
Also, as mentioned before, our sister had confidence because she was competent. Her high self esteem was rooted in excellence. You don't have to do it all but in whatever you do, let it be with a desire for excellence. Confidence goes a long way in contributing to a fruitful satisfying life in which "her works praise her in the gates". (Verse 31)
There are many Proverbs 31 women living the good life today and it is not because they are slaves to their husbands and children. Nor is it because they desperately struggle being the superwomen our culture seems to expect.
This worthy woman from the book of Proverbs was not, in fact, an old fashioned chauvinistic anachronism. Rather, if we get to the heart of the matter, she might be considered a forerunner for our time.
"An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, she does him good and not evil all the days of her life. She looks for wool and flax, and works with her hands in delight. She is like merchant ships; she brings her food from afar. She rises also while it is still night, and gives food to her household, and portions to her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; from her earnings she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong. She senses that her gain is good; her lamp does not go out at night. She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hands grasp the spindle. She extends her hand to the poor; and she stretches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household, for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She makes coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies belts to the tradesmen. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying: 'Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all.' Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates."
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The political leader of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) and Senator of Montserrado County, George Manneh Weah, has finally launched his Montserrado scholarship program and offered 300 scholarships to students across the country.
Senator Weah provided the scholarship opportunity to Liberian students over the weekend when he formally launched his Montserrado Scholarship Scheme at the Monrovia City Hall in Sinkor.
The ceremony was graced by members of the National Legislature, ordinary Liberians, patricians of CDC and other stakeholders.
During the launch of the scholarship program, Ambassador Weah presented five scholarships to each district of the 17 districts in Montserrado County as part of the fulfillment of his campaign promises to the people of the county.
He also gave scholarships to the remaining 14 counties through their lawmakers as a way of helping students in other parts of the country.
According to him, the scholarship is for all determining students of vocational institutions, universities and elementary, junior and senior high schools and has promised to offer more scholarships, disclosing that 40 more scholarships are available for deserving students at the University of Liberia (UL) and Cuttington University College (CUC), 20 of the scholarships are for UL and the remaining 20 for CUC.
Speaking at the launch of the scholarship program, Senator Weah told the gathering that the scholarship initiative is intended to buttress national government's efforts in improving and building a quality education program for Liberians.
The Montserrado Senator said the scholarship opportunity will greatly benefit Liberians, especially in helping to change their lives and help them in the transformation of the country.
He challenged all beneficiaries of the scholarship not to take the initiative likely but that they should be focused and determined to help achieve their goals.
Senator Weah noted that Liberia can have a great generational change if only Liberians, especially the youthful generation can be provided opportunities through different programs, including educational capacity building, among others.
He further noted that education is not just about preparation, but also something that makes a successful life hence he challenged every Liberian to consider education as a major priority to building human capacity.
During the occasion, pledges were made by some permanent Liberians including Montserrado County District #6 Representative, Edwin M. Snowe, who pledged the amount of $L500, 000.00 in support of the scholarship and Musa Bility pledged $L1m annually towards the scholarship.
Making remarks at the event, Representative Snowe commended Senator Weah for his decision to provide scholarship opportunity to Liberians and called on other Liberians to join the empowerment of education programs in the country.
“You have created a new and difficult chapter for your critics to write about you. I don't know what may people say about you again Senator Weah, because you have brought proud not only to the people of Montserrado, but to the entire country of what you did today,” Representative Snowe said.
“WHAT LIBERIANS THINK OF THEIR GOV'T MATTERS MOST.” Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh says what Liberians think about their government matters most since they are the ones who elected the government.
He insisted that on any matter concerning Liberia, it is the position of Liberians that matter the most because they are the ones who are most affected by whatever outcome.
The opposition politician made the statement over the weekend in response to impressions about the meeting of last week between President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and U.S. President Barack Obama.
Dr. Tipoteh said some Liberians, especially those who are managing the Liberian State, to keep looking up to foreigners, foreign governments and foreign institutions for approval of what is best for Liberia is like the same thing that existed in the colonial days.
He said the flow of mass poverty through this colonial mentality remains no secret, adding “whenever foreigners are looked up to for final approval, they always approve of actions that benefit them at the expense of Liberia.”
This is why the Liberian people continue to get poorer while the rich become richer from Liberia's natural resources, Dr. Tipoteh added.
Tipoteh also said it should not be a surprise to Liberians that President Obama would utter words of praise to President Sirleaf for her efforts in reducing corruption and poverty when in fact President Sirleaf was honest enough, over one month ago, to have said that corruption has spread so much and rapidly to have become a vampire in Liberia, making it impossible for development.
No one knew him by his real name. But on the harsh streets of Skid Row that became his home, he was known as Africa.
Surveillance footage, police and homeless community activists paint wildly different pictures of the man -- one who could be violent, benevolent, troubled and altruistic.
Africa was shot and killed by Los Angeles police Sunday after he scuffled with officers. The shooting, caught on video, has renewed accusations of police brutality because it showed him already on the ground. Police say he tried to reach for an officer's gun.
The Los Angeles County coroner's office has identified Africa, but is not releasing his real name pending notification of relatives.
Life on the streets
Africa came to the United States from the continent about a decade ago, said a friend who would only be identified as Nick G.
Like Africa, Nick had also been homeless on the streets of Skid Row -- a decrepit area wrought with poverty and despair.
"He wanted to get away from here, he wanted to go back home," Nick said.
"He was very depressed. Very, very depressed. He had a good side to him, a good heart."
Africa kept a tent outside the Union Rescue Mission homeless shelter. Even though the shelter was right in front of him, he didn't want the help.
Instead, Africa often helped the shelter's employees.
"Our cleaning guys -- he would help them organize cleaning of (the) sidewalk," said the Rev. Andy Bales, the shelter's CEO.
He described Africa as gentle and kind -- but with an erratic side.
"I attribute the erratic behavior to this difficult environment out here."
Bursts of violence
Less than an hour before he was killed Sunday, a nearby security camera showed Africa apparently dealing drugs -- the sad and only real currency of Skid Row's economy.
The footage then shows Africa getting into a fight with the man in the orange tent next to him, violently tipping the tent and kicking the man. Police arrive and talk to Africa, but he jumps into the tent -- prompting officers to draw their guns.
Africa then jumps out, swinging his arms at police. Los Angeles police say he tried to grab an officer's gun, and that's when he was shot.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck called the incident "an extreme tragedy."
"We feel great compassion in the LAPD for people who live in conditions of homelessness, and often mental illness, with no treatment," Beck said.
"We prepare our officers to deal as best they can with them, but the reality is this is much more than a problem that the police alone can solve."
The broader problem
Bales said the dismal conditions of LA's Skid Row makes it a tinder box for more problems.
"There is no other major city in the U.S. that has a skid row like ours," he said. "2,000 human beings living on the street. Until we deal with that, we're going to continue to have an explosive situation."
On the sidewalk where Africa was shot, a modest memorial sits atop a small pile of belongings.
"RIP Cameroon," one cardboard sign reads "Rest in Peace Africa."
It's unclear when the Los Angeles County coroner's office will release Africa's real name.
From there, it's unclear where Africa's remains will go.
Liberia's global poverty and human rights advocate personnel Randall Dobayou congratulates the Liberian government for announcing the reopening of schools in Liberia. But Randall Dobayou wants more from the government. He is asking “[the Liberian] government to allow students to go to school without paying fees because of the current economic situation,” especially the closure of borders, businesses and schools from curbing with the deadly Ebola virus.
The deadly Ebola crisis forced the Liberian government to close most of its schools across the country, and its borders with neighboring countries. But with the recent decrease in the Ebola cases ( two cases as of today, according to a UN’s report) across the country, in fact, across West Africa, Liberians are calling on their government to reopen schools. But such a demand to reopen schools in Liberia should come with a free education provided by the government to its citizen, cried angry Liberians.
And one of those who are in the process of sending out a message to Liberia’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the rest of her ministers, cabinets, ministers, etc., is Liberia’s former youth and student leader, Randall Dobayou.
Randall Dobayou—who is now an active member of Liberia's global poverty and human rights advocate—voiced up his opinion in an audio recording released on January 3, 2015. He testified that the Liberian government under the leadership of Madam Ellen Johnson has done its best to fight the deadly Ebola virus, which has claimed an estimated 9000 Liberians' lives; but her government now has a huge responsibility. And that's allowing its students, if they return to school, to get a free education.
However, those responsibilities, claimed angry Liberians, are yet to be taken into concrete consideration, neither by the Liberian government nor by its business vast entities across the West African nation. But the approaches of Randall Dobayou in his recording do seem to give President Ellen's government a better view on how to fund and sponsors the free education for its citizens: using Liberia’s oil resources, taxes from businesses and so on, Randall Dobayou suggested in the audio recording.
Randall Dobayou’s suggestions in the audio are alarming. In fact, it’s a difficult conundrum that will challenge the current Liberian government; and perhaps the government will consider his suggestions—and look at him as a quintessential tough guy—with strong remarks and suggestions, so as others.
Credit: Garcon Morweh for news info