In the long history of humankind, tragedy has always served to remind us of our mortality as a people. It is against this backdrop that people strive to do all they can to triumph against tragedy. So that lives are not lost. Seeing somebody crumble under the weight of tragedy makes people feel a grueling pain. They want to rid the world of this pain and they fight anything that could spell any kind of tragedy. When the plight of a 14 year old girl from Mochudi, Abian Ntshabele to be assisted with funds in order to undergo a surgery in China hit social media platforms, the world was taken aback and touched. Not only was the little girl facing one of the most deadly ailments in the world, cancer, she risked dying if her condition was not to be attended to with urgency.
However, Abian’s, was a very rare form of Ovarian Cancer, known as Immature Teratoma. Doctors in Botswana and the neighbouring South Africa where severe cases are normally referred to could not help. Helpless and willing to do anything to save the life of her precious little girl Abian’s mother sold her house to raise funds and took her child to the United Kingdom for special medical attention. However it still proved quite difficult to remove the tumors.
They were told that they could only find help in China, which had the expertise and the machines to carry out the operation. But this would require a lot of money; money that the family didn’t have, to finance medical expenses and all logistics costs.
But as fate would have it, it turned out that this life-threatening situation would turn into a rallying point for Batswana here and abroad to unite and raise funds to assist Abbie to get medical attention in China. In a period of four weeks, in a rare moment of nationalism, Batswana from various corners joined hands and mobilized funds through sponsored walks and other means. It was quite humbling to see that unity of purpose by a people determined to overcome what is clearly a life-threatening health condition. This remarkable move by people, where even the UK-based Motswana artist, Lionheart used her music and contacts in the diaspora to get people to support the Abbie cause, raising a remarkable P700 000, while only about P500 000 is needed, shows that indeed as Batswana we are a nation that is compassionate.
This is an inspirational story as it shows how Batswana and the world came to the rescue of a fellow human being, a young Motswana child who has dreams of completing her school education and working for herself, her family and her for the development of her country. There is a lot to learn from this compelling story of compassion, care and selflessness shown by people towards a child struggling against a rare and life-threatening condition.
As a people, a nation and even the government, there is need to take a leaf from this. Other people-young and old, have gone through and some still are as of now, going through the most difficult life-threatening conditions. We need to use the same passion and energy that we had in rallying around this cause to say set up a trust fund that can raise funds here and abroad to look after the medical needs of the unfortunate and other members of our society who might not be as lucky as Abbie to have someone mobilise the world to come to their rescue. That way we will save a lot of lives.