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Our Child, Toby

Posted by Dr. D , 16 September 2012 · 297 views

By every standard the people of my village would be categorized as ignorant.  Some cannot read.  Some have no knowledge of world events, many types of music and art, critical thought or technology.  The majority is lost in the world of eating, working, loving and sleeping as if that was all required of them; and maybe they are right.

I once had visitors from California who still bemoan the cultural anemia found here when compared to the outside world.  What they don’t understand is that these people have no need for comparison, their life is sufficient and satisfying, which is far more than can be said in most advanced societies.

One of the denizens of this place is Toby.  He is six years old but insists on adding the partial year and saying he is six and a half.  Toby has no parents; both died when their car turned over on a country road.  He has no home.  He has no extended family.  He has no government agency providing for him.  He is not listed in one of those “adopt a child” programs seen on TV.  He is simply here and spends most of his days playing with friends.

Toby sleeps in the nearest home when the sun goes down.  He eats in the nearest home each time he is hungry.  He is clothed by women whose children grew away long ago and only their clothes remain.  He is sometimes commanded by the local doctor to have a checkup and the dentist monitors his oral health regularly and no one puts a fee on their services.  He goes to school and does his homework in the central plaza.  He has no possessions and yet he learns by sharing the possessions of others.  A couple buying an ice cream cone for their child will say, “Where’s Toby?” and buy an extra.  He is “our” child and he is loved by all.

There are no boasts about compassion.  No one has made a chart of on which day each person will have the responsibility for Toby.  It all comes naturally as part of the great labor of being human.  Toby is everyone’s child and his family is a village.

This is life in a village composed of the ignorant.  The outside world has no place here because it would never be understood.  The culture consists of embroidery, harvest, the aroma of a local recipe and staring at the tapestry of a sunset.  Some think the 21st century needs to come here and enlighten these people.  I hope it doesn’t happen in my lifetime.

Vernon the Great
Sep 16 2012 03:23 PM
You make me want to pack a bag.  I wish we had more places like where you live.  Somehow I get the feeling that it is a better place because you are there.
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Silly question maybe, but I'm new here... where are you located?
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In a small village in Mexico.  Not silly at all.
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Thankyou, I've just gone back and read a few more of your blog entries. Very easy to read and so interesting.  Mexico seems so far away to me...

I often day dream about what the day-to-day life is like in far-away countries.  Do you eat cereal for breakfast, for instance?  What's it like grocery shopping?  Do you have milk-bars or corner shops where the young hang out?  Is the environment as commercial as our cities with huge billboards, and what do they advertise?..  Things like that.

I should say, you aren't required to answer these questions, they are just some of the ones I think of when I think about other countries.
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