o jewa ke eng? – What is eating you up?

There is a Lesotho tweet by a user calling herself/himself Keabetswe, on Twitter. It is a simple question – o jewa ke eng? – that has received lots of responses. The responses vary from the unemployed narrating the pitfalls of unemployment – rents unpaid, school fees backlogging, meals missed. Some are looking for work. Others tell about deaths in the family A few told about cheating spouses and partners. Others are asking for help to promote their businesses. A few post their families or friends who need donations for medical treatment, or for school fees. The stories are endless and the outpouring of support is heartwarming.

The straightforward definition/translation for this phrase is ‘what is bothering you’? It can also be translated as ‘what is it that is eating you up?’

As with many African phrases, o jewa ke eng is difficult to translate into english. If rightly translated, the deep meaning of o jewa ke eng would be something like ‘what is it that is bothering your spirit or what is disturbing your soul — something like a deep pain inside of you that you want to let out.

What I find interesting with the thread on Twitter is how so many people share their worst experiences, problems, challenges etc without necessarily saying what the struggle makes them feel. The word desperate is used in some cases 🙂 But when you read the post, you can feel empathy for the person anyway, almost feel what they must be feeling. It has made me realize that you don’t have to say everything when you are sharing that which is bothering you.

You don’t have to show tears.

Nor do you have to seem broken.

You don’t have to express anger.

All you ned to do is say what it is that is bothering you, put it out there – to your friend, to a family member, on the internet, in a notebook etc and see what happens. Just the sharing of whatever is bothering you is the beginning of healing because:

(i) you get the chance to vent pent up frustration and

(ii) it gives you a chance to reflect over the situation.

When you say “my marriage/relationship is falling apart…it is breaking my heart…” you are also saying “I really don’t want my marriage to fall apart.

Mind your words, they can become your reality

As soon you say something out loud, or write something down, your mind starts to deal with it as a fact. If you are lucky, your mind and those around you can help you reverse a bad situation. Or they can help you get through it. That is why we are told to mind what we say. Mind what you ask/pray for.

At Growth Catalysts (GC), we keep asking you o jewa ke eng? WHAT is eating at you? What is bothering you? Of course, we hope you are training yourself on how to reply to this question with some depth. Once you reply to o jewa ke eng? we do our best to help you reply to:

  1. WHY the thing that is eating at you is eating at you
  2. HOW to stop the thing that is eating at you. You get to make a list of
  3. WHAT you think/feel/believe you can do to stop the thing that is eating at you
  4. WHEN is now!
  5. WHO is you and us!

The GC community and members seem to understand what we are asking and we are receiving responses, stories, poems, questions etc Sometimes, you are telling us what is eating you. Other times you are asking us what is eating you. Mostly you are reaching out because you know something is eating you or someone you love and you know it needs fixing.

Please keep talking/communicating. what is eating you up?

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