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Malawi Blood Donation Stories - The Unbelievable Act of Mr Spindulo

The Unbelievable Act of Mr Spindulo - A Kuluka Story

I will not be infuriated if you ask me if this is true, and I will not take it personally if you qualm this story but the bottom line is that, the story is true and I urge you to read to the end.

I am a Malawian, born and raised in Malawi also known as the warm heart of Africa. The country borders with Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia. A beautiful country with exquisite lakes such as Lake Malawi which has fresh water and unique species of fish like Bonya, Lake Chiuta (‘Chiuta’, meaning ‘god’ and it has this name because of its wonders, one of them is that no one manages to throw a stone across it, though its lowest width is 25 meters). Malawi has also Lake Chilwa, this is the second-largest in Malawi after Lake Malawi. It is surrounded by extensive wetlands and it has no outlet, and this lake has a large island in the middle called ‘Chisi Island’. Malawi hosts the third highest mountain in Africa, ‘Mount Mulanje’ which has ‘Sapitwa peak’ as its highest peak. This mountain has also an inimitable tree ‘Mulanje Cypress’ also called Mulanje Cedar (Widdrington Whytei). Scientifically classified as a Plantae kingdom, division of Pinophyta, class of Pinopsida, order of Pinales, in the family of Cupressaceae and in the genus of Widdringtonia.  A species of Widdrington native to Malawi, where it is Endemic to the Mulanje Massif at altitudes of 1,830-2550m.

I cannot talk about Malawi without mentioning about the National Parks and the Game Reserves which are found in Malawi. Malawi’s largest game reserve is Nkhotakota game reserve and covers an area of 1802 square km. It is 115 km from Lilongwe District the capital city of Malawi. Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve is 986 km in size and is situated in a low-lying area to the south west of Nyika Plateau where you can also find many Zebras. There are five national parks namely: Kasungu National Park, Liwonde National Park, Lengwe National Park, Lake Malawi National Park, and Nyika National Park. In these national parks you can find the big five animals, consisting of Lions, African Elephants, Cape buffalos, Leopards, and Rhinoceros. Though Malawi is rich, the people living in it are very poor.

The number of poor at $1.25 a day is 9.25 million. The poverty headcount ratio at $3.10 a day (PPP) (% of population) is 87.6%. Poverty gap at urban poverty line, including non-comparable values is 4.80 %. The poverty headcount ratio at rural poverty line (% of rural population), including non-comparable values is 56.60%.  GINI index is 46.18%. Number of poor at $5 a day (PPP) is apporximatel 14.7 million at international poverty lines (PPP). - Sourced from the World Bank and Knoema

All I have told you is absolutely true and you can verify its validity. What I am about to tell you is what will torment your mind to whether it is factual or fictional. The people of Malawi have ‘love’ and ‘compassion’ that they do things which you will ask if they really happened. One of such happenings happened in Mangochi district. This district is along the Lake Malawi and it is also where you can find Lake Malawi national park. Mr Spindulo whose daughter was suffering from anemia jolted the country with what he did. Though the country was dazed but it is not all who were stunned with his act since others argued that Mr Spindulo’s act really showed that he loves his daughter, this mixed feeling can be categorized by the level of literacy.

Many Malawians are illiterate. The statistics shows that Primary school participation, survival rate to last primary grade is 50.9%. Secondary school participation, Net enrolment ratio for males is 29.7% and for females is 28.8%. Secondary school participation, Net attendance ratio for males is 9.7% while females is 10.4%. All these statistics are from 2008 to 2012 and based on current data.

Mr Spindulo after being told that his daughter was suffering from anemia, and that she was desperately in need of blood which could be the only way to save her life, he was worried. The apprehension was not that of the treatment but the disquiet came after being told that the hospital had no blood in their blood banks, and that he himself could not donate the blood since he was also suffering from the same disease and his blood level was to low for him to donate though the blood group matched.

It is not what his intentions were all about which raised eyebrows of many Malawians but what he did. It is not his courage which raised many questions to the world but how he did it. Many people asked if he was benign or malignant. Some people faulted the government of Malawi that it is not doing enough to sensitize its people on blood donation. Others put the blame on the Malawi Blood Transfusion Service (MBTS) that it is not doing it’s in tendered work of making sure that the country has safe and enough blood for everyone. Others said the general public should shoulder the blame since they are the ones to donate blood. Others said the finger should point to the donors who at many times promise that they will help and they do not do so, and sometimes they put much restrictions on the donation to the point that the ones using the donations are forced to follow the rules of the donor even if they know that they are not helping in solving the problems.

Many people did not agree to the results from the hospital that Mr Spindulo was mentally stable. This was fueled because of his idiosyncratic act. The most bamboozling thing was the answer Mr Spindulo gave to the police officer who asked him, why he had to cut himself and pool his blood into a bottle and add some water so that his 9 years old daughter should drink. Mr Spindulo told the police officer that he loves his daughter so much that he could not afford to see her dying, and after the doctor told him that the only way to help his daughter was by giving her blood (blood transfusion) which by that time the hospital had none and that they refused him to donate saying that he was not eligible to donate, he then thought it wise that it was better for him to die and save his daughter and that is why he had to give his daughter the blood so that she can live. Upon hearing this, the police officer jiggled his head in disbelief and told him that it was not what his intentions were or why he did it but rather how he did it. Mr Spindulo said he did what he did to save his daughter, and the police officer knew that Mr Spindulo had no idea on what blood transfusion is.

Written by Davrine C. Gondwe

Editing A. Mzumara

© Copyright Kuluka 2015