Rallying together for a friend
Letter to Friends around the World # 83

Mbaraka K. has been a friend of the ATD Fourth World Movement in Tanzania for several years. Here he tells us what happened when one of the workers from the fish market fell ill in Dar es Salaam.

I was at the fish market and I met a man that was sick. His name was Shabani and he had a hernia. He was working at the market frying fish. He was suffering and in a lot of pain. Shabani had no brothers, sisters or family and was homeless. I did not have the financial means to help him.

I asked an ATD Fourth World volunteer for advice. He suggested that I contact the other friends in the market, and ask everyone to contribute some money towards the operation. We received some donations from the people in the fish market. After collecting the money we took him to a hospital in a taxi.

Shabani saw a doctor and they gave him a bed. The doctor gave me a list of medicine that was needed, I had to go to the pharmacy to buy them. Then the doctor explained that there wasn't enough blood in the blood bank for the operation. He suggested I go back to the fish market and ask friends to donate blood.

I went back and gathered people together. At the start of the meeting there were twenty people but after I explained about donating blood, only six remained. Those six people came back to the hospital with me. I left the six people with the doctor and he took them to a room to give blood.

While waiting, two people became scared and they left so there was only four left to donate blood.

They tested their blood to make sure it was the right kind but only two of them had the correct type. One of the remaining two did not have enough blood to donate. So from the original twenty, only one was left that could actually give blood. I wasn't originally going to donate blood but in the end, two of us donated blood so there would be enough. The doctor and nurse asked me what my relationship was to Shabani and they were surprised when I said that he was a friend, not a relative.

The operation was successful but afterwards there was no one to take care of my him whilst he was in hospital. I took care of him for the rest of the day and evening. I gave him food and water until he was discharged. Shabani was discharged into my care. I could not bring him home because I didn't have enough space. So another friend took Shabani into his home but I continued to care for him until he was well.

Now Shabani does not have a hernia and he is a strong and healthy man. He has a small business on a fisherman island near where I live. When Shabani brings back the fish that he catches, he gives me his fish for free. We are very good friends.

Mbaraka K., Tanzania