Learning Sranan Tongo In Brooklyn: When You Eat, You Must Spread Your Fingers

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

The following story is a Surinamese proverb that will be used in my upcoming YouTube video. It encourages people to share with their community. I've translated the story from Sranan Tongo all on my own !! I'm really working on leveling up my Sranan Tongo Skills.

When You Eat, You Must Spread Your Fingers

In the old days, Boss Lando was the director for a plantation. He had two women in the city, Ms. Lene with Ms. Lena. Everything that he found in the plantation he would bring and give the women when he came to the city. But every time he would tell them: “When you guys eat then you, must spread your fingers.”

The first woman, Ms. Lene, didn’t understand what that meant. But the other woman, Ms. Lena knew that when Boss Lando brought things she had to share it with others.

So, when Ms. Lene was finished cooking in the afternoon, she would go sit down outside and spread her fingers to the sky when she would eat.

Then she would say: “Boss Lando said that when I eat, I must spread my fingers.”

Even when Boss Lanso would bring plenty pork with salt fish, Ms. Lene would sit and eat everything alone. But Ms. Lena would share half with other people.

But after some time Boss Lando died. The two women screamed when they heard their man died. After they buried him, no one looked at Ms. Lene. Ms. Lene sat and looked how many people brought things for Ms. Lena. Others brought sugar, salt, chicken, cacao, tea, coffee with oil. Then one day Ms. Lene went to Ms. Lena, and said: “Gosh, since Boss Lando died, I am suffering. But Look at you! Everyone that comes brings things for you.”

Then, Ms. Lena answered Ms. Lene: “When Boss Lando would bring things for you, what did you do with them?”

Ms. Lene said: “I ate everything alone”

Then Ms. Lena said: “When Boss Lando told you when you eat, you must spread your fingers, what did you do?”

Ms. Lene answered: “When I would eat, then I would spread my fingers to the sky.”

Ms. Lena Laughed. She said “So, then the sky must give you food. Because to the sky you spread your fingers. But me, when I ate, I would share with others. So you see, now I eat from others.”

Feeling shamed Ms. Lene got up slowly, and left.

This proverb shows you all that, when we eat we must not hold everything for ourselves. But you must give others. Then when the day comes and you don’t have, then others will give you back.

“When you eat, you must spread your fingers.”

Te yu e nyan, yu mu panya yu finga

Fosten Baas Lando ben de driktoro fu wan pranasi. A ben abi tu frow na foto, frow Lène nanga frow Lena. Dan ala sani san a ben feni ini a pranasi a ben e tyari gi den frow te a ben kon na foto. Ma ala leisi a ben taigi den taki: "Te un e nyan dan un mus panya un finga."

A fosi frow, frow Lène, no ben sabi san dati ben wani taki. Ma a tra frow, frow Lena ben sabi taki te Baas Lando ben tyari sani kon dan a ben mu prati nanga trawan.

So, te frow Lène ben kba bori te bakadina, a ben e go sidon na dorosei e panya en finga gi loktu te ai nyan. Dan a e taki: "Baas Lando taki dati te mi e nyan, mi mus panya mi finga." Awinsi Baas Lando ben tyari furu agumeti nanga batyaw kon, frow Lène ben sidon e nyan ala sani en wawan. Ma frow Lena ben e prati afu gi tra sma.

Ma baka wan pis'ten Baas Lando kon dede. Den tu frow bari sote di den yere taki den masra dede. Baka di den beri en, no wan sma ben e luku frow Lène a wan ai. Frow Lène ben sidon e luku fa furu sma ben e tyari sani kon gi frow Lena. Trawan ben tyari sukru, sowtu, fowru, kakaw, te, kofi nanga oli. Dan wan dei frow Lène go na frow Lena, a taki: "Baya, sensi Baas Lando dede, mi e pina. Ma luku yu! Ala sma san e kon e tyari wan sani kon gi yu."

Dan frow Lena piki frow Lène taki: "Di Baas Lando ben e tyari sani kon gi yu, san yu ben du nanga den sani?"

Frow Lène taki: "Mi wawan ben e nyan ala sani."

Dan frow Lena taki: "Di Baas Lando taigi yu taki te yu e nyan dan yu mus panya yu finga, san yu du dan?"

Frow Lène piki en taki: "Te mi ben e nyan, dan mi ben e panya mi finga na loktu so."

Frow Lena lafu. A taki: "So, dan loktu mus gi yu nyanyan. Bika na gi loktu yu ben e panya yu finga. Ma mi dati, te mi ben e nyan dan mi ben e prati nanga trawan. So yu e si taki na fu trawan mi e nyan now." Fu syen frow Lène opo safri, a gwe.

A odo disi e sori unu taki, te wi e nyan wi no mu ori ala sani gi wisrefi. Ma un mu gi trawan. Dan te wan dei doro taki yusrefi no abi, dan trawan o gi yu baka. "Te yu e nyan, yu mu panya yu finga."


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