Words of Others | The Moon

From Ishmael Beah's A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier:

"We must strive to be like the moon." An old man in Kabati repeated this sentence often to people who walked past his house on their way to the river to fetch water, to hunt, to tap palm wine; and to their farms. I remember asking my grandmother what the old man meant. She explained that the adage served to remind people to always be on their best behavior and to be good to others. She said that people complain when there is too much sun and it gets unbearably hot, and also when it rains too much or when it is cold. But, she said, no one grumbles when the moon shines. Everyone becomes happy and appreciates the moon in their own special way. Children watch their shadows and play in its light, people gather at the squre to tell stories and dance through the night. A lot of happy things happen when the moon shines. These are some of the reasons why we should want to be like the moon.

A Long Way Gone is full of interesting little anecdotes like this, scattered among the heartbreaking stories from the time Beah spent fighting in Sierra Leone's civil war as a child in the 1990s.