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Friday, February 13, 2015

a village raising the child

            It is interesting that in a far-flung village in Africa there exists a philosophy that I think is filled with wisdom that I take to be entirely correct.   There is this saying in Nigeria: "It takes a whole village to raise a child!" For me, this is a sound belief that is as loud as the clanging of the huge bell of an ancient church announcing to the town that mass will start soon.  This belief could have been spawned by very observant elderlies of the village watching a pride of lions, composed of sisters, as they share in taking care of the young.  This system is seen especially when it is time to hunt.   The cubs shall be left to one female lion who is an aunt, while the others hunt for food.    So too is it true in the wild forests of America or in Europe where a pack of wolves live. For wolves, only the alpha male and the alpha female are allowed to mate; bear pups and those with lower ranks share in taking care of them.  What they would do is hunt, eat the food and regurgitate it to the young on their return.  This sharing responsibility of taking care of the young is also the reason why ant and bee colonies thrive around the world.  I have been thinking, if this is true anywhere, then this should be a universal truth, don’t you  think?

 There is a big problem brewing at Ayala Alabang Village where De La Salle Zobel school is located.  Traffic congestion has always been a perennial problem in any locality where there is a school.  I have been going to Greenhills every Thursday, once a month to attend a meeting and I know it is a commuters’ nightmare that from one to four in the afternoon, cars occupy at least two lanes waiting for students to be dismissed.  This chaotic problem where there are schools is true everywhere and Ayala Alabang is not immune to it. 

This traffic situation has never been a problem before but De La Salle, as one of the country’s leading schools in providing quality education, has grown dramatically both in its physical layout and enrolment size.   With La Salle’s stance of keeping up with global standards, more and more parents are investing their children’s education to the said school.    In return, De La Salle, in its effort to make its brand of education available to as many students as possible, could not close its doors to worthy students regardless of whether they are residents of the village or not.   The increase in enrolment is the root cause of the traffic situation, or so they say. 

It is easier to blame the traffic situation on the escalating number of passers-by.  It is always so easy to point a finger on a single culprit.  As a matter of fact, it is the most convenient.  However, on closer inspection, this may not necessarily be correct at all times.  While it is true that traffic congestion can be attributed to sheer volume alone, I believe there are other factors involved that contributed to the mayhem.   Before this nightmare, there were more roads available to the commuters.   There were streets such as Maria Cristina, Agno, Pantabangan, Ambuklao, etc. which could be used to get to Zobel.  However, these streets were closed one by one to commuters bound for Zobel which left only Madrigal and Acacia roads open to University Avenue as the only ingress and egress to the school.  Naturally, these roads will not be enough during rush hours which will be from 7:30 till 8:00 in the morning and 3:30 till 4:00 in the afternoon. 

With all this traffic turmoil, the Ayala Alabang Village Association (AAVA) Board of Governors has only De La Salle Zobel to blame, not as the main source but the only “culprit” and hence made all it deems as necessary measures to only refer to the school albeit the fact that there are more schools  inside the village.  As such, the Board has made several demands “suggestions” to the school to help ease the traffic to which Zobel has willingly complied even if it had to spend millions of pesos.  I would like to spare you the details and make the long story short.  The Board claims that none of the solutions adapted by the school worked and as a final solution, will implement a color-coding scheme on vehicles coming to and from De La Salle Zobel.

                The color-scheme the AAVA Board wants to implement is, at the very least, impractical to downright ridiculous.  First of all, why implement the scheme when there are barely two months left in the school year? Granting in arguendo that it has been the plan since June as alleged by the Board, nevertheless, to have it implemented today will not serve any purpose but cause a lot of trouble and mayhem to our young students.  The residents, who the Board alleges to be complaining about the traffic, have already managed to bear with the discomfort for practically the whole year -  two more months would cost nothing more than what they have already suffered.    Secondly, the plan needs to be studied more.  In the proposed scheme, there will be cars which will be allowed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, a total of three days; while on the other hand, the others will only be allowed on Tuesdays and Thursdays!  That is totally unfair.   Why will there be students who are blessed with more days to come and study than the others?  On what basis shall a non-resident car owner be awarded a three day slot?  Who decides who will be given a sticker that will allow access to the roads of AAVA on those three  days?

              It  takes the entire village to raise a child.  There is wisdom in that adage.  A child may not be born completely in tabula rasa form but nevertheless, it grows into the kind of environment it lives in.  As such, every child is our responsibility.  We cannot complain about that drug dependent menace or that village thug that constantly disturb the peace.  They are that way because they lived in an antagonistic and uncaring society.  We cannot just blame their parents for raising them that way.  We let them down.  They are our responsibilities.  Should we deprive the little ones in our care of education and have them witness how terrible we treat one another? It takes an entire village to raise a child.  We are trying to raise our future leaders and raise them differently than how our present leaders have been brought up.  Should we let a minor discomfort that lasts for barely thirty minutes be the bane of our existence? Or should we consider our small sacrifice be our contribution to nation building?  To me, the choice is obvious. I hope it is with you, too.   










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Twenty years of teaching must sure amount to something. A new friend in cyberspace suggested I ought to have a journal by now. I agree.

Taken by my friend Arlene Lawson in her room at Century Park Sheraton in May, 2000.
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Location: Bambang, Pasig City, Philippines

Jack of all trade, master of none. First a disclaimer. My students have discovered this blog and they might think that what I write is gospel truth. Worse is they might find an argument that they think they can use, for some reason or another, against their teachers. So, to set the record straight, it is NOT. As a matter of fact, I write and open it to feedback to get another view in the hope that somebody would tell me if I am wrong and reenforce my thinking if it is right. Not that I will accept anything thrown my way, though. Just so I can think about it some more and decide whether my original stance is right or definitely off tangent. So there. I hope that clarifies everything. Now, on to blogging.

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