Monday, July 13, 2009

It takes a village…

"It takes a village to raise a child." As hopefully most people know, this is originally an African saying. It certainly was true when my husband was growing up. The village in those days was still very close-knit, and many inhabitants were related to each other, either through blood or through marriage.

Late one evening, my husband and I were returning from a stroll in the neighborhood, and noticed a teenager still outside. My husband told him to go home immediately to his parents, and kept an eye on him till he was sure he was on his way home. I was surprised; in Europe and in the United States, other people's children are none of our business. However, this was, and still is, not the case in many areas of Africa. If you saw someone’s child, even if that child was already 6 feet tall, doing something he/she shouldn’t be doing, you had the duty and the right to scold the child. The parents’ child wouldn’t think of telling you off for it (and there was a good chance the child might not even dare tell them, for fear of being scolded again!).