Re­mem­ber­ing a ‘very bloody gen­er­ous’ hero

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Feature / National News - An­ge­line Musakwa Fea­tures Writer Feed­back: ang­iekyl­[email protected] com

The “bloody” hero joined the National Blood Ser­vices Zim­babwe (NBSZ) on Septem­ber 1, 1980 as a driver of the mo­bile team. Through in­ter­ac­tions with blood donors and school head­mas­ters, he de­vel­oped the pas­sion to mo­ti­vate peo­ple to do­nate blood and since then he lived his life to en­cour­age peo­ple to save lives.

NOT all su­per­heroes come in cos­tumes. Some just wear a smile and fo­cus on mak­ing the world a bet­ter place.

One such hero is Misheck Mbabvu, a man who ded­i­cated the bet­ter part of his adult life dili­gently sav­ing lives.

Those who in­ter­acted with National Blood Ser­vices Zim­babwe may know the jovial fig­ure, who was al­ways ready to crack a joke rid­dled with price­less life knowl­edge.

Mbabvu suc­cumbed to hy­per­ten­sion on the last day of 2018, leav­ing an in­deli­ble dent in the coun­try’s blood trans­fu­sion sec­tor. He was a peren­nial blood donor, who made 110 blood do­na­tions be­tween 1995 and 2008.

His fam­ily said that he wanted to do­nate more blood, but the law does not al­low peo­ple over 65 to do­nate blood.

Mbabvu’s son, Phineas, says for as long as he re­mem­bers his father val­ued blood do­na­tion.

“My father val­ued blood do­na­tion as he strongly be­lieved that it could save lives,” said Phineas.

He was also an em­ployee of the NBSZ for 31 years from 1980 to 2011. So ded­i­cated was he to keep­ing the na­tion’s blood stock re­plen­ished that he did not en­joy his re­tire­ment like oth­ers do.

“Even after he had re­tired in 2011, he still con­tin­ued to go to work. Even if we tried to dis­cour­age him ask­ing about money, he would not lis­ten,” said Phineas.

Phineas says he can­not be­lieve that his father “Great One” is gone.

He said the one thing his father had been able to do over the years was to han­dle tough sit­u­a­tions with re­mark­able ease, con­sid­er­ing he had a huge fam­ily and would al­ways ad­vo­cate unity.

“He never showed signs of strain even when un­der pres­sure,” said Phineas.

“He was able to keep to­gether a fam­ily of two boys, five girls 26 grand­chil­dren and three great-grand­chil­dren. He al­ways wanted the fam­ily to unite,” added Phineas.

It is with­out doubt that Misheck Mbabvu saved many lives through the 49 500 millil­itres (about 110 pints) of blood he do­nated. An av­er­age-sized man has about 12 pints of blood in his body, which is 5 400milil­itres. Us­ing these vol­umes as a mea­sure Mbabvu do­nated blood enough to lu­bri­cate 10 adult bod­ies.

Tichaona Saira, who worked with Mbabvu for a long time, said the late blood donor was a ded­i­cated mem­ber, and he was the one who showed him the ropes in the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“When I joined NBSZ, Misheck Mbabvu was like a men­tor to me, as he was pas­sion­ate about his job. He was the one who helped me,” said Mr Saira.

Saira said Mbabvu was a jovial per­son and al­ways had sto­ries to tell, but most of them were ed­u­ca­tional.

“Mbabvu en­joyed work­ing with young peo­ple. He would never miss a chance to share a few words on health and well-be­ing as well as blood do­na­tion,” he re­it­er­ated.

The “bloody” hero joined the National Blood Ser­vices Zim­babwe (NBSZ) on Septem­ber 1, 1980 as a driver of the mo­bile team. Through in­ter­ac­tions with blood donors and school head­mas­ters he de­vel­oped the pas­sion to mo­ti­vate peo­ple to do­nate blood and since then he lived his life to en­cour­age peo­ple to save lives.

Es­ther Mas­sun­dah, NBSZ pub­lic af­fairs man­ager, said Mbabvu was one of the most ded­i­cated peo­ple she had ever come across.

“Mr Mbabvu started to work for NBSZ when he was 37 years of age and re­tired after 30 years nine months.

“He started as a driver of the mo­bile team and through his hard work, he was later pro­moted to the po­si­tion of pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer on 1st Novem­ber 1990. He then re­tired from the ser­vice on 30 June 2011. At the time of his re­tire­ment he was a cus­tomer re­la­tions of­fi­cer,” Mas­sun­dah added.

NBSZ says blood do­na­tion is very im­por­tant as blood do­nated is used in cases of emer­gency, child­birth, ac­ci­dents and dur­ing sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dures.

In Zim­babwe, a lot of blood is lost through road ac­ci­dents. It was a cruel irony to have lost Mbabvu dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son as he al­ways played a piv­otal role in rais­ing aware­ness about the im­por­tance of do­nat­ing blood.

Mbabvu un­der­stood the im­por­tance of do­nat­ing blood, and at one time at a Fes­tive Sea­son National Blood Do­na­tion Cam­paign Launch in 2015 he re­marked: “If you are not a blood donor think twice, and be­come a blood donor be­cause a lot of ac­ci­dents are hap­pen­ing and many peo­ple are dy­ing.”

Bi­o­log­i­cally, the rib cage has three im­por­tant func­tions: pro­tec­tion, sup­port and res­pi­ra­tion. There­fore, Misheck Mbabvu whose sur­name de­scribes a rib in Shona - ful­filled this role by pro­tect­ing and sup­port­ing other peo­ple’s lives through his ded­i­ca­tion and gen­eros­ity. One must wait 56 days be­tween blood do­na­tions and that means Mr Mbabvu lived most of his life to do­nate blood as he do­nated 49 500 milil­itres (110 pints) of blood in 13 years.

For­mer Bri­tish prime min­is­ter Win­ston Churchill once said: “We make a liv­ing by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Even in pos­ter­ity, Mbabvu will be a man re­mem­bered for sav­ing lives through his gen­er­ous ges­tures, do­nat­ing 49 litres of blood with­out re­lent­ing. In­deed, he was a “bloody” gen­er­ous hero.

The late Misheck Mbabvu do­nated a stag­ger­ing 49 500 milil­itres (110 pints) of blood in 13 years

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