Tuesday, October 28, 2014
“It's the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.” ― Marlene Dietrich
We had some excitement the other night. Sunday night around 11:00 P.M., John got a call from Shaban. Shaban’s wife was seriously ill, and he needed our car to take her to the hospital. It wasn’t the first time our car was a local ambulance, and it won’t be the last. Karen and I were fast asleep, but John was at work out in his office, and told him to come at once. John met him at the gate with the keys to the car and 100,000 Tsh (about $75) out of his own pocket to cover the doctor’s, hospital, lab costs, and to pay for medication. Shaban thanked him and left in a rush. You have to understand that no one travels at night here. It is pitch black at 7:30 every night and there are no street lights on our dirt roads and there are drunks and bandits out every night. Shaban brought the car back around one in the morning and John was there to meet him and offer any other help he needed. Shaban’s wife suffers from high blood pressure (a real problem here, Charlini’s mother died of it) and she was safely in the hospital and on IVs. Shaban needed the car to take his sons to see their mother and so that he could bring her food during the day—the hospitals here provide no food, if your family doesn’t bring anything, you just go hungry. John was there again at seven Monday morning to give him the keys and see if he needed any more money or anything else (this meant that John had stayed up all night to be there if he was needed). Shaban brought the car back last night around seven pm and told us his wife was going to be all right and was back at home. They had given her a lot of medication by IV and had brought her blood pressure down to safe levels. Shaban was relieved and told Karen and me over and over how grateful he was for John’s help. He kept saying, “He was waiting for me at the gate with the keys and money. It was like help from God.” Karen and I are very happy that we had a car he could use, happy that his wife is better, but mostly truly proud of our son for being such a good friend to Shaban. The old saying is that a friend in need is a friend indeed. John proved what a good friend he was by being there in the middle of the night when he was needed. That is the definition of a friend, in my book.