It Takes a Village

January 17, 2011
By Evan Pollock SILVER, Delafield, Wisconsin
Evan Pollock SILVER, Delafield, Wisconsin
7 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Straight Talk – It Takes a Village
By Evan Pollock, USA Today

First Lady of the United States Hillary Clinton has released a new book, It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us which presents her vision for children and America. The title includes a common expression that refers to many different members of a community having an impact on a child’s growth. Having scrutinized the expression in depth, I now take you to the remote African village of Ougado.

Three hundred miles from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo lies a community of about three hundred individuals. This part of the country is overrun by nefarious political opposition groups, but the remote township manages to thrive. The fertile landscape and proximity to the Lazizi River prevent starvation and thirst related maladies. Youth (aged twelve or below) make up about one-third of the population.

Zazu Ougarza, 9, explains how his village is helping him. He speaks of his amicable village chief, Babu Ninkari, whom never is loath to attend to the needs of his village’s children. Ougarza also advocates on behalf of his schoolteacher, Miss Ari.

“She is a caring and compassionate teacher,” Ougarza mentioned.

Ari, 35, is as astute as her loving student acknowledged. Apart from teaching one hundred youth, she also serves on the village board. She works alongside Jalai Ferrari, the village doctor, who also has a personal connection to Ougarza.

“Dr. Ferrari is an excellent doctor! I want to be a doctor just like him when I grow up,” Ougarza said.

Although the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s government is completely ineffectual, Ougarza manages to move on. The only thing to worry about in Ougado is the vexatious species of baboon.

Write to USA Today to solicit your views on the subject.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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